U. S. MARINE OPERATIONS IN KOREA
Operations in West Korea
LIEUTENANT COLONEL PAT MEID, USMCR
MAJOR JAMES M. YINGLING, USMC
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps
Washington, D. C, 1972
Preceding Volumes of
U. S. Marine Operations in Korea
Volume I, "The Pusan Perimeter"
Volume II, "The Inchon-Seoul Campaign"
Volume III, "The Chosin Reservoir Campaign"
Volume IV, "The East-Central Front"
Library of Congress Catalogue Number: 55-60727
For Sale by the Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402-Price $4.50 (Cloth)
Stock Number 0855-0059
Mention THE Korean War and almost immediately it evokes
the memory of Marines at Pusan, Inchon, Chosin Reservoir,
or the Punchbowl. Americans everywhere remember the Marine
Corps' combat readiness, courage, and military skills that were
largely responsible for the success of these early operations in
1950-1951. Not as dramatic or well-known are the important ac-
complishments of the Marines during the latter part of the Korean
In March 1952 the 1st Marine Division redeployed from the East-
Central front to West Korea. This new sector, nearly 35 miles in
length, anchored the far western end of I Corps and was one of
the most critical of the entire Eighth Army line. Here the Marines
blocked the enemy's goal of penetrating to Seoul, the South Korean
capital. Northwest of the Marine Main Line of Resistance, less than
five miles distant, lay Panmunjom, site of the sporadic truce nego-
Defense of their strategic area exposed the Marines to continuous
and deadly Communist probes and limited objective attacks. These
bitter and costly contests for key outposts bore such names as Bunker
Hill, the Hook, the Nevadas (Carson-Reno-Vegas), and Boulder
City. For the ground Marines, supported by 1st Marine Aircraft
Wing squadrons, the fighting continued until the last day of the
war, 27 July 1953.
The Korean War marked the first real test of Free World soli-
darity in the face of Communist force. In repulsing this attempted
Communist aggression, the United Nations, led by the United States,
served notice that it would not hesitate to aid those nations whose
freedom and independence were under attack.
As events have subsequently proven, holding the line against
Communist encroachment is a battle whose end is not yet in sight.
Enemy aggression may explode brazenly upon the world scene, with
an overt act of invasion, as it did in Korea in June 1950, or it may
take the form of a murderous guerrilla war as it has more recently,
for over a decade, in Vietnam.
Whatever guise the enemy of the United States chooses or wher-
ever he draws his battleline, he will find the Marines with their age-
old answer. Today, as in the Korean era, Marine Corps readiness and
professionalism are prepared to apply the cutting edge against any
threat to American security, v
L. F. Chapman, Jr.
General, U.S. Marine Corps,
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Reviewed and approved: 12 May 1971.
THIS IS the concluding volume of a five-part series dealing with
operations of United States Marines in Korea between 2 August
1950 and 27 July 1953. Volume V provides a definitive account of
operations of the 1st Marine Division and the 1st Marine Aircraft
Wing during 1952-1953, the final phase of the Korean War. At this
time the division operated under Eighth U.S. Army in Korea (eusak)
control in the far western sector of I Corps, while Marine aviators
and squadrons functioned as a component of the Fifth Air Force
The period covered by this history begins in March 1952, when
the Marine division moved west to occupy positions defending the
approaches to Seoul, the South Korean capital.. As it had for most of
the war the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, operating under FAF, flew
close support missions not only for the Marines but for as many as
19 other Allied frontline divisions. Included in the narrative is a
detailed account of Marine POWs, a discussion of the new defense
mission of Marine units in the immediate postwar period, and an
evaluation of Marine Corps contributions to the Korean War.
Marines, both ground and aviation, comprised an integral part of
the United Nations Command in Korea. Since this is primarily a
Marine Corps history, actions of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force
are presented only in sufficient detail to place Marine operations in
their proper perspective.
Official Marine Corps combat records form the basis for the book.
This primary source material has been further supplemented by com-
ments and interviews from key participants in the action described.
More than 180 persons reviewed the draft chapters. Their technical
knowledge and advice have been invaluable. Although the full details
of these comments could not be used in the text, this material has
been placed in Marine Corps archives for possible use by future
The manuscript of this volume was prepared during the tenure
of Colonel Frank C. Caldwell, Director of Marine Corps History,
Historical Division, Headquarters Marine Corps. Production was ac-
complished under the direction of Mr. Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Deputy
Director and Chief Historian, who also outlined the volume. Pre-
liminary drafts were written by the late Lynn Montross, prime author
of this series, and Major Hubard D. Kuokka. Major James M.
Yingling researched and wrote chapters 1-6 and compiled the
Command and Staff List. Lieutenant Colonel Pat Meid researched
and wrote chapters 7-12, prepared appendices, processed photographs
and maps, and did the final editing of the book.
Historical Division staff members, past or present, who freely lent
suggestions or provided information include Lieutenant Colonel John
J. Cahill, Captain Charles B. Collins, Mr. Ralph W. Donnelly, Mr.
Benis M. Frank, Mr. George W. Garand, Mr. Rowland P. Gill,
Captain Robert J. Kane, Major Jack K. Ringler, and Major Lloyd E.
Tatem. Warrant Officer Dennis Egan was Administrative Officer
during the final stages of preparation and production of this book.
The many exacting administrative duties involved in processing the
volume from first draft manuscripts through the final printed form,
including the formidable task of indexing the book, were handled
expertly and cheerfully by Miss Kay P. Sue. Mrs. Frances J. Rubright
also furnished gracious and speedy assistance in obtaining the tomes
of official Marine Corps records. The maps were prepared by
Sergeants Kenneth W. White and Ernest L. Wilson. Official Depart-
ment of Defense photographs illustrate the book.
A major contribution to the history was made by the Office of the
Chief of Military History, Department of the Army; the Naval
History Division, Department of the Navy; and the Office of Air
Force History, Department of the Air Force. Military history offices
of England, Canada, and South Korea provided additional details
that add to the accuracy and interest of this concluding volume of
the Korean series.
F. C. Caldwell
Colonel, US. Marine Corps (Retired)
Director of Marine Corps History
I Operations in West Korea Begin 1
From Cairo to jamestown — The Marines' Home in West
Korea — Organization of the 1st Marine Division Area —
The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing — The Enemy- — Initial CCF
Attack — Subsequent CCF Attacks — Strengthening the Line —
Marine Air Operations — Supporting the Division and the
Wing — Different Area, Different Problem
II Defending the Line 51
UN Command Activities — Defense of East and West Coast
Korean Islands — Marine Air Operations — Spring 1952 on
jamestown — End of the Second Year of War — A Long
Fourth of July — Changes in the Lineup — Replacement and
Rotation — Logistical Operations, Summer 1952
III The Battle of Bunker Hill 103
The Participants and the Battlefield — Preliminary Action on
Siberia — The Attack on Bunker Hill — Consolidating the
Defense of Bunker Hill — Company B Returns to Bunker Hill
— Supporting Arms at Bunker Hill — In Retrospect
IV Outpost Fighting Expanded 145
From the Center Sector to the Right — Early September Out-
post Clashes — Korean COPs Hit Again — More Enemy As-
saults in Late September — Chinese Intensify Their Outpost
Attacks — More pressure, More CAS, More Accomplish-
ments — Rockets, Resupply, and Radios
V The Hook 185
Before the Battle — Preparations for Attack and Defense —
Attack on the Hook — Reno Demonstration — Counterattack —
VI Positional Warfare 217
A Successful Korean Defense — Six Months on the UNC Line
— Events on the Diplomatic Front — The Marine Commands
During the Third Winter— 1st MAW Operations 1952-1953
— Behind the Lines — The Quiet Sectors— Changes in the
Concept of Ground Defense — Before the Nevadas Battle
VII Vegas 263
The Nevada Cities — Supporting Arms — Defense Organiza-
tion at the Outposts — Chinese Attack on 26 March — Rein-
forcements Dispatched — Massed Counterattack the Next Day
— Push to the Summit — Other Communist Probes — Three
CCF Attempts for the Outpost — Vegas Consolidation Be-
gins — Aftermath
VIII Marking Time (April-June 1953) 313
The Peace Talks Resume — Operation little switch — Inter-
val Before the Marines Go Off the Line — The May Relief —
Training While in Reserve and Division Change of Com-
mand — Heavy May-June Fighting — Developments in Marine
Air — Other Marine Defense Activities — The Division Is
Ordered Back to the Front
IX Heavy Fighting Before the Armistice 363
Relief of the 25th Division — Initial Attacks on Outposts
Berlin and East Berlin — Enemy Probes, 11-18 July — Marine
Air Operations — Fall of the Berlins — Renewal of Heavy
Fighting, 24-26 July — Last Day of the War
X Return of the Prisoners of War 399
Operation big switch — Circumstances of Capture — The
Communist POW Camps — CCF "Lenient Policy" and In-
doctrination Attempts — The Germ Warfare Issue — Problems
and Performance of Marine POWs — Marine Escape Attempts
— Evaluation and Aftermath
XI While Guns Cool 445
The Postwar Transition — Control of the DMZ and the Mili-
tary Police Company — Organization of New Defense Posi-
tions — Postwar Employment of Marine Units in fecom
XII Korean Reflection 475
Marine Corps Role and Contributions to the Korean War:
Ground, Air, Helicopter — FMF and Readiness Posture —
Problems Peculiar to the Korean War — Korean Lessons
A Glossary of Technical Terms and Abbreviations 537
B Korean War Chronology 54l
C Command and Staff List 549
D Effective Strength, 1st Marine Division
and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing 573
E Marine Corps Casualties 575
I'" Marine Pilots and Enemy Aircraft Downed in Korean War . . 577
G Unit Citations (during 1952-1953 period) 579
H Armistice Agreement 587
Maps and Sketches
1 EUSAK Dispositions — 15 March 1952 9
2 Western Korea— I Corps Sector— 1952-1953 14
3 1st Marine Division Sector — 30 April 1952 23
4 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Dispositions— 30 April 1952 ... 25
5 2/5 Sector— 15-16 April 1952 35
6 West Coast Island Defense Element — Summer 1952 .... 54
7 East Coast Island Defense Element — Summer 1952 .... 57
8 Objectives for 1/5 Attack— 9 May 1952 78
9 1st Marines Sector of jamestown (Division Center) —
8 August 1952 110
10 2/1 Sector— 9-11 August 1952 115
11 Bunker Hill Area— 2300, 12 August 1952 120
12 Combat Outposts and Ambush Sites — 5 th Marines Sector
(Division Right)— Early September 1952 151
13 Combat Outposts — KMC Sector (Division Left) —
5-7 September 1952 154
14 7th Marines Sector (Division Right)— Early October 1952 . . 164
15 "CCF Creeping Tactics"— March-October 1952 189
16 Hook Sector of MLR— 1800, 26 October 1952 198
17 Hook Penetrations— 26-27 October 1952 201
18 Outpost Reno Attacks— 27 October 1952 204
19 CCF Attack Against KMC Sector (Division Left) —
31 October 1952 219
20 Organization of Ground Defense— Winter 1952-1953 ... 252
21 Typical Hill Defense (Cross Section)— Winter 1952-1953 . . 254
22 5th Marines MLR Sector— 26 March 1953 266
23 1st Marines MLR Sector (Division Center)— 26 March 1953 . 269
24 COP Carson— March 1953 272
25 COP Reno— March 1953 274
26 COP Vegas— March 1953 277
27 Attack on 5th Marines Front— 26-30 March 1953 . . . 282
28 25th Infantry Division Sector (Following Relief of the
1st Marine Division)— 5 May 1953 330
29 Eighth Army Sector— 1 January-27 July 1953 343
30 7th Marines MLR Sector (Division Right) — Linear Defense —
19-20 July 1953 380
31 7th Marines MLR Sector— Defense-in-Depth— 20-21 July 1953 . 382
32 7th Marines MLR Sector — Defense-in-Depth— 22-23 July 1953 . 384
33 Eighth Army Front— 27 JuJy 1953 395
34 POW Camps in which Marines Were Held 417
35 1st Marine Division Post-Armistice Main Battle Position —
30 September 1953 462
Operations in West Korea Begin
From Cairo to Jamestown — The Marines' Home in West
Korea — Organization of the 1st Marine Division Area — The
1st Marine Aircraft Wing — The Enemy — Initial CCF Attack
— Subsequent CCF Attacks — Strengthening the Line — Marine
Air Operations — Supporting the Division and the Wing —
Different Area, Different Problem
From Cairo to jamestown 1
During THE latter part of March 1952, the 1st Marine
Division, a component of the U.S. Eighth Army in Korea
(eusak), pulled out of its positions astride the Soyang River in
east-central Korea and moved to the far western part of the country
in the I Corps sector. There the Marines took over the eusak left
flank, guarding the most likely enemy approaches to the South
Korean capital city, Seoul, and improving the ground defense in
their sector to comply with the strict requirements which the division
1 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: 1st Marine
Division Staff Report, titled "Notes for Major General J. T. Selden, Commanding
General, First Marine Division, Korea," dtd 20 Aug 52, hereafter Selden, Div. Staff
Rpt; the four previous volumes of the series U.S. Marine Operations in Korea,
1950-1953, namely, Lynn Montross and Capt Nicholas A. Canzona, The Pusan Peri-
meter, v. I; The Inchon-Seoul Operation, v. II; The Chosin Reservoir Campaign,
v. Ill; Lynn Montross, Maj Hubard D. Kuokka, and Maj Norman W. Hicks, The
East-Central Front, v. IV (Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, 1954-1962),
hereafter Montross, Kuokka, and Hicks, USMC Ops Korea — Central Front, v. IV;
Department of Military Art and Engineering, U.S. Military Academy, Operations in
Korea (West Point, N. Y. : 1956), hereafter USMA, Korea; David Rees, Korea: The
Limited War (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1964), hereafter Rees, Korea, quoted
with permission of the publisher. Unless otherwise noted, all documentary material cited
is on file at, or obtainable through, the Archives of the Historical Division, Headquarters,
U.S. Marine Corps.
Operations in West Korea
commander, Major General John T. Selden, had set down. Except
for a brief period in reserve, the Marine division would remain in
the Korean front lines until a cease-fire agreement in July 1953
ended active hostilities.
The division CG, Major General Selden, 2 had assumed command
of the 25,000-man 1st Marine Division two months earlier, on 11
January, from Major General Gerald C. Thomas while the Marines
were still in the eastern X Corps sector. The new Marine commander
was a 37-year veteran of Marine Corps service, having enlisted as a
private in 1915, serving shortly thereafter in Haiti. During World
War I he was commissioned a second lieutenant, in 1918, while on
convoy duty. Between the two world wars, his overseas service had
included a second assignment to Haiti, two China tours, and sea
duty. When the United States entered World War II, Lieutenant
Colonel Selden was an intelligence officer aboard the carrier Lexing-
ton. Later in the war Colonel Selden led the 5th Marines in the New
Britain fighting and was Chief of Staff of the 1st Marine Division
in the Peleliu campaign. He was promoted to brigadier general in
1948 and received his second star in 1951, prior to his combat assign-
ment in Korea.
American concern in the 1950s for South Korea's struggle to pre-
serve its independence stemmed from a World War II agreement be-
tween the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. In De-
cember 1943, the three powers had signed the Cairo Declaration and
bound themselves to ensure the freedom of the Korean people, then
under the yoke of the Japanese Empire. At the Potsdam Conference,
held on the outskirts of Berlin, Germany in July 1945, the United
States, China, 3 and Britain renewed their Cairo promise.
When the Soviet Union agreed to join forces against Japan, on 8
August, the USSR also became a party to the Cairo Declaration.
According to terms of the Japanese capitulation on 11 August, the
Soviets were to accept surrender of the defeated forces north of the
38th Parallel in Korea. South of that line, the commander of the
: Divlnfo, HQMC, Biography of MajGen John T. Selden, Mar 54.
3 China did not attend. Instead, it received an advance copy of the proposed text.
President Chiang Kai-shek signified Chinese approval on 26 July. A few hours later, the
Potsdam Declaration was made public. Foreign Relations of the United States: The
Conferences at Cairo and Teheran, 1943 (Department of State publication 7187),
pp. 448-449; The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference) , 1945, v. II
(Department of State publication 7163), pp. 1278, 1282-1283, 1474-1476.
Operations in West Korea Begin
American occupation forces would receive the surrender. The Rus-
sians wasted no time and on 12 August had their troops in northern
Korea. American combat units, deployed throughout the Pacific, did
not enter Korea until 8 September. Then they found the Soviet
soldiers so firmly established they even refused to permit U.S. occu-
pation officials from the south to cross over into the Russian sector.
A December conference in Moscow led to a Russo-American com-
mission to work out the postwar problems of Korean independence.
Meeting for the first time in March 1946, the commission was
short-lived. Its failure, due to lack of Russian co-operation, paved
the way for politico-military factions within the country that set up
two separate Koreas. In the north the Communists, under Kim II
Sung, and in the south the Korean nationalists, led by Dr. Syngman
Rhee, organized independent governments early in 1947. In May of
that year, a second joint commission failed to unify the country. As
a result the Korean problem was presented to the United Nations
(UN) . This postwar international agency was no more successful
in resolving the differences between the disputing factions. It did,
however, recognize the Rhee government in December 1948 as the
representative one of the two dissident groups.
In June 1950, the North Koreans attempted to force unification of
Korea under Communist control by crossing the 38th Parallel with
seven infantry divisions heavily supported by artillery and tanks. Act-
ing on a resolution presented by the United States, the United Na-
tions responded by declaring the North Korean action a "breach
of the peace" and called upon its members to assist the South Ko-
reans in ousting the invaders. Many free countries around the globe
offered their aid. In the United States, President Harry S. Truman
authorized the use of U.S. air and naval units and, shortly there-
after, ground forces to evict the aggressors and restore the status
quo. Under the command of General of the Army Douglas Mac-
Arthur, then Far East Commander, U.S. Eighth Army occupation
troops in Japan embarked to South Korea.
The first combat unit sent from America to Korea was a Marine
air-ground team, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, formed at Camp
Pendleton, California on 7 July 1950, under Brigadier General Ed-
ward A. Craig. The same day the UN Security Council passed a reso-
lution creating the United Nations Command (UNC) which was to
exercise operational control over the international military forces
Operations in West Korea
rallying to the defense of South Korea. The Council asked the
United States to appoint a commander of the UN forces; on the 8th,
President Truman named his Far East Commander, General Mac-
Arthur, as Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Cin-
In Korea the Marines soon became known as the firemen of the
Pusan Perimeter, for they were shifted from one trouble spot to the
next all along the defensive ring around Pusan, the last United Na-
tions stronghold in southeastern Korea during the early days of the
fighting. A bold tactical stroke planned for mid-September was de-
signed to relieve enemy pressure on Pusan and weaken the strength
of the North Korean People's Army (nkpa). As envisioned by
General MacArthur, an amphibious landing at Inchon on the west
coast, far to the enemy rear, would threaten the entire North Korean
position south of the 38th Parallel. To help effect this coup, the UN
Commander directed that the Marine brigade be pulled out of the
Pusan area to take part in the landing at Inchon.
MacArthur's assault force consisted of the 1st Marine Division,
less one of its three regiments, 4 but including the 1st Korean Marine
Corps (KMC) Regiment. Marine ground and aviation units were to
assist in retaking Seoul, the South Korean capital, and to cut the
supply line sustaining the nkpa divisions.
On 15 September, Marines stormed ashore on three Inchon
beaches. Despite difficulties inherent in effecting a landing there, 5 it
was an outstandingly successful amphibious assault. The 1st and 5th
Marines, with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW) assault squad-
rons providing close air support, quickly captured the port city of
Inchon, Ascom City to the east, and Kimpo Airfield. Advancing
eastward the Marines approached the Han River that separates
Kimpo Peninsula from the Korean mainland. Crossing this obstacle
in amphibian vehicles, 1st Division Marines converged on Seoul
from three directions. By 27 September, the Marines had captured
4 The 7th Marines was on its way to Korea at the time of the Inchon landing. The
brigade, however, joined the 1st Division at sea en route to the objective to provide
elements of the 5th Regimental Combat Team (RCT).
5 For a discussion of the hardships facing the landing force, see Montross and
Canzona, USMC Ops Korea— Inchon, v. II, op. cit., pp. 41-42, 59-60, 62-64.
c In World War II, the Japanese developed a logistical base east of Inchon. When
the Japanese surrendered, the Army Service Command temporarily took over the
installation, naming it Ascom City. Maj Robert K. Sawyer, Military Advisers in Korea:
KMAG in Peace and War (Washington: OCMH, DA, 1962), p. 43».
Operations in West Korea Begin
the South Korean government complex and, together with the U.S.
Army 7th Infantry Division, had severed the enemy's main supply
route (MSR) to Pusan. In heavy, close fighting near the city, other
United Nations troops pursued and cut off major units of the nkpa.
Ordered back to East Korea, the Marine division re-embarked at
Inchon in October and made an administrative landing at Wonsan
on the North Korean coast 75 miles above the 38th Parallel. As part
of the U.S. X Corps, the 1st Marine Division was to move the 5th
and 7th Marines (Reinforced) to the vicinity of the Chosin Reser-
voir, from where they were to continue the advance northward to-
ward the North Korean-Manchurian border. The 1st Marines and
support troops were to remain in the Wonsan area.
While the bulk of the division moved northward, an unforeseen
development was in the making that was to change materially the
military situation in Korea overnight. Aware that the North Koreans
were on the brink of military disaster, Communist China had de-
cided to enter the fighting. Nine Chinese divisions had been dis-
patched into the area with the specific mission of destroying the 1st
Marine Division. 7 Without prior warning, on the night of 27 No-
vember, hordes of Chinese Communist Forces (CCF, or "Chinese
People's Volunteers" as they called themselves) assaulted the un-
suspecting Marines and nearly succeeding in trapping the two Ma-
rine regiments. The enemy's failure to do so was due to the military
discipline and courage displayed by able-bodied and wounded Ma-
rines alike, as well as effective support furnished by Marine aviation.
Under conditions of great hardship, the division fought its way out
over 78 miles of frozen ground from Chosin to the port of Hung-
nam, where transports stood by to evacuate the weary men and the
equipment they had salvaged.
This Chinese offensive had wrested victory from the grasp of
General MacArthur just as the successful completion of the cam-
paign seemed assured. In the west, the bulk of the Eighth Army
paced its withdrawal with that of the X Corps. The UNC established
a major line of defense across the country generally following the
38th Parallel. On Christmas Day, massed Chinese forces crossed
the parallel, and within a week the UN positions were bearing the
full brunt of the enemy assault. Driving southward, the Communists
7 Montross and Canzona, USMC Ops Korea — Chosin, v. Ill, p. 161.
Operations in West Korea
recaptured Seoul, but by mid-February 1951 the advance had been
slowed down, the result of determined Eighth Army stands from a
series of successive defensive lines. 8
Following its evacuation from Hungnam, the 1st Marine Division
early in 1951 underwent a brief period of rehabilitation and training
in the vicinity of Masan, west of Pusan. From there, the division
moved northeast to an area beyond Pohang on the east coast. Under
operational control of Eighth Army, the Marines, with the 1st Ko-
rean Marine Corps Regiment attached for most of the period, pro-
tected 75 miles of a vital supply route from attack by bands of
guerrillas. In addition, the Marines conducted patrols to locate, trap,
and destroy the enemy. The Pohang guerrilla hunt also provided
valuable training for several thousand recently arrived Marine divi-
In mid-February the 1st Marine Division was assigned to the U.S.
IX Corps, then operating in east-central Korea near Wonju. Initially
without the KMCs, 9 the Marine division helped push the corps line
across the 38th Parallel into North Korea. On 22 April, the Chinese
unleashed a gigantic offensive, which again forced UN troops back
into South Korea. By the end of the month, however, the Allies had
halted the 40-mile-wide enemy spring offensive.
Once again, in May, the Marine division was assigned to the U.S.
X Corps, east of the IX Corps sector. Shortly thereafter the Com-
munists launched another major offensive. Heavy casualties inflicted
by UNC forces slowed this new enemy drive. Marine, Army, and
Ko'rean troops not only repelled the Chinese onslaught but immedi-
ately launched a counteroffensive, routing the enemy back into
North Korea until the rough, mountainous terrain and stiffening
resistance conspired to slow the Allied advance.
In addition to these combat difficulties, the Marine division began
to encounter increasing trouble in obtaining what it considered
s On 9 January 1951, General MacArthur was "directed to defend himself in suc-
cessive positions, inflicting maximum damage to hostile forces in Korea subject to the
primary consideration of the safety of his troops and his basic mission of protecting
Japan." Carl Berger, The Korea Knot — A Military-Political History (Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1957), pp. 131-132, hereafter Berger, Korea Knot,
quoted with permission of the publisher.
The 1st KMC Regiment was again attached to the Marine Division on 17 March
1951 and remained under its operational control for the remainder of the war.
CinCPacFIt Interim Evaluation Rpt No. 4, Chap 9, p. 9-53, hereafter PacFlt EvalRpt
with number and chapter.
Operations in West Korea Begin
sufficient and timely close air support (CAS). Most attack and
fighter aircraft of the 1st MAW, commanded by Major General
Field Harris 10 and operating since the Chosin Reservoir days under
Fifth Air Force (FAF), had been employed primarily in a program
of interdicting North Korean supply routes. Due to this diversion
of Marine air from its primary CAS mission, both the division and
wing suffered — the latter by its pilots' limited experience in perform-
ing precision CAS sorties. Despite the difficulties, the Marine divi-
sion drove northward reaching, by 20 June, a grotesque scooped-out
terrain feature on the east-central front appropriately dubbed the
Eighth Army advances into North Korea had caused the enemy
to reappraise his military situation. On 23 June, the Russian delegate
to the United Nations, Jacob Malik, hinted that the Korean differ-
ences might be settled at the conference table. Subsequently, United
Nations Command and Communist leaders agreed that truce negoti-
ations would begin on 7 July at Kaesong, located in West Korea
immediately south of the 38th Parallel, but under Communist con-
trol. The Communists broke off the talks on 22 August. Without
offering any credible evidence, they declared that UNC aircraft
had violated the neutrality zone surrounding the conference area. 11
Military and political observers then realized that the enemy's over-
ture to peace negotiations had served its intended purpose of per-
mitting him to slow his retreat, regroup his forces, and prepare his
ground defenses for a new determined stand.
The lull in military offensive activity during the mid-1951 truce
talks presaged the kind of warfare that would soon typify the final
phase of the Korean conflict. Before the fighting settled into posi-
tional trench warfare reminiscent of World War I, the Marines
participated in the final UN offensive. In a bitter struggle, the divi-
sion hacked its way northward through, over, and around the Punch-
bowl, and in September 1951 occupied a series of commanding ter-
10 Command responsibility of 1st MAW changed on 29 May 51 when Brigadier
General Thomas J. Cushman succeeded General Harris.
11 The Senior Delegate and Chief of the United Nations Command Delegation to the
Korean Armistice Commission, Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, USN, has described how
the Communists in Korea concocted incidents "calculated to provide advantage for
their negotiating efforts or for their basic propaganda objectives, or for both." Examples
of such duplicity are given in Chapter IV of his book, How Communists Negotiate
(New York: The MacMillan Company, 1955), hereafter Joy, Truce Negotiations,
quoted with permission of the publisher. The quote above appears on p. 30.
Operations in West Korea
rain positions that became part of the Minnesota Line, the Eighth
Army main defensive line. Beginning on the 20th of that month, it
became the primary mission of frontline units to organize, construct,
and defend positions they held on Minnesota. To show good faith
at the peace table, the UNC outlawed large-scale attacks against
the enemy. Intent upon not appearing the aggressor and determined
to keep the door open for future truce negotiations, the United
Nations Command in late 1951 decreed a new military policy of
limited offensives and an aggressive defense of its line. This change
in Allied strategy, due to politico-military considerations, from a
moving battle situation to stabilized warfare would affect both the
tactics and future of the Korean War.
Even as Allied major tactical offensive operations and the era
of fire and maneuver in Korea was passing into oblivion, several
innovations were coming into use. One was the Marine Corps em-
ployment of helicopters. First used for evacuation of casualties from
Pusan in August 1950, the versatile aircraft had also been adopted
by the Marine brigade commander, General Craig, as an airborne
jeep. On 13 September 1951, Marines made a significant contribu-
tion to the military profession when they introduced helicopters
for large-scale resupply combat operations. This mission was fol-
lowed one week later by the first use of helicopters for a combat
zone troop lift. These revolutionary air tactics were contemporary
with two new Marine Corps developments in ground equipment —
body armor and insulated combat boots, which underwent extensive
combat testing that summer and fall. The latter were to be especially
welcomed for field use during the 1951-1952 winter.
Along the Minnesota Line, neither the freezing cold of a Korean
winter nor blazing summer heat altered the daily routine. Ground
defense operations consisted of dispatching patrols and raiding
parties, laying ambushes, and improving the physical defenses. The
enemy seemed reluctant to engage UN forces, and on one occasion
to draw him into the open, eusak ordered Operation clam-up across
the entire UN front, beginning 10 February. Under cover of darkness,
reserve battalions moved forward; then, during daylight, they pulled
back, simulating a withdrawal of the main defenses. At the same
time, frontline troops had explicit orders not to fire or even show
- Col Franklin B. Nihart comments on draft MS, Sep 66, hereafter Nihart comments.
Operations in West Korea
It was hoped that the rearward movement of units from the front
line and the subsequent inactivity there would cause the enemy to
come out of his trenches to investigate the apparent large-scale
withdrawal of TJNC troops. Then Marine and other EUSAK troops
could open fire and inflict maximum casualties from covered posi-
tions. On the fifth day of the operation, clam-up was ended. The
North Koreans were lured out of their defenses, but not in the
numbers expected, clam-up was the last action in the X Corps
sector for the 1st Marine Division, which would begin its cross-
country relocation the following month. (See Map 1.)
Code-named Operation mixmaster, the transfer of the 1st Marine
Division began on 17 March when major infantry units began to
move out of their eastern X Corps positions, after their relief on line
by the 8th Republic of Korea (ROK) Division. Regiments of the
Marine division relocated in the following order: the 1st KMCs,
1st, 7th, and 5th Marines. The division's artillery regiment, the 11th
Marines, made the shift by battalions at two-day intervals. In the
motor march to West Korea, Marine units traveled approximately
140 miles over narrow, mountainous, and frequently mud-clogged
primitive roads. Day and night, division transport augmented by a
motor transport battalion attached from Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
(FMFPac) and one company from the 1st Combat Service Group
(CSG) rolled through rain, snow, sleet, and occasional good
Marines employed 5,800 truck and DUKW (amphibious truck)
loads to move most of the division personnel, gear, and supplies.
Sixty-three flatbed trailers, 83 railroad cars, 14 landing ships, 2 trans-
port aircraft, the vehicles of 4 Army truck companies, as well as
hundreds of smaller jeep trailers and jeeps were utilized. The
division estimated that these carriers moved about 50,000 tons
of equipment and vehicles, 13 with some of the support units making
as many as a dozen round trips. The mixmaster move was made
primarily by truck and by ship 14 or rail for units with heavy
13 Marine commanders and staff officers involved in the planning and execution of
the division move were alarmed at the amount of additional equipment that infantry
units had acquired during the static battle situation. Many had become overburdened
with "nice-to-have" items in excess of actual T/E (Table of Equipment) allowances.
Col William P. Pala comments on draft MS, 5 Sep 66, hereafter Pala comments.
14 Heavy equipment and tracked vehicles were loaded aboard LSDs and LSTs which
sailed from Sokcho-ri to Inchon.
Operations in West Korea Begin
Impressive as these figures are, they almost pall in significance
compared with the meticulous planning and precision logistics
required by the week-long move. It was made, without mishap, over
main routes that supplied nearly a dozen other divisions on the
EUSAK line and thus had to be executed so as not to interfere with
combat support. Although the transfer of the 1st Marine Division
from the eastern to western front was the longest transplacement of
any EUSAK division, mixmaster was a complicated tactical maneuver
that involved realignment of UNC divisions across the entire Korean
front. Some 200,000 men and their combat equipment had to be
relocated as part of a master plan to strengthen the Allied front
and deploy more troops on line.
Upon its arrival in West Korea, the 1st Marine Division was
under orders to relieve the 1st ROK Division and take over a sector
at the extreme left of the Eighth Army line, under I Corps control,
where the weaknesses of Kimpo Peninsula defenses had been of
considerable concern to EUSAK and its commander, General James
A. Van Fleet. As division units reached their new sector, they moved
to locations pre-selected in accordance with their assigned mission.
First Marine unit into the I Corps main defensive position, the
Jamestown Line, was the 1st KMC Regiment attached to the divi-
sion, with its organic artillery battalion. The KMCs, as well as l/ll,
began to move into their new positions on 18 March. At 1400 on
20 March, the Korean Marines completed the relief of the 15th
Republic of Korea Regiment in the left sector of the MLR (main
line of resistance) . Next into the division line, occupying the right
regimental sector adjacent to the 1st Commonwealth Division, was
Colonel Sidney S. Wade's 1st Marines with three battalions forward
and 2/5 attached as the regimental reserve. Relief of the 1st ROK
Division was completed on the night of 24-25 March. At 0400 on
25 March the Commanding General, 1st Marine Division assumed
responsibility for the defense of 32 miles of the Jamestown Line.
That same date the remainder of the Marine artillery battalions also
relocated in their new positions.
As the division took over its new I Corps mission on 25 March,
the Marine commander had one regiment of the 1st ROK Division
attached as division reserve while his 5th Marines was still in the
east. Operational plans originally had called for the 5th Marines,
less a battalion, to locate in the Kimpo Peninsula area where it was
Operations in West Korea
anticipated Marine reserve units would be able to conduct extensive
amphibious training. So overextended was the assigned battlefront
position that General Selden realized this regiment would also be
needed to man the line. He quickly alerted the 5th Marines com-
manding officer, Colonel Thomas A. Culhane, Jr., to deploy his
regiment, then en route to western Korea, to take over a section of
the JAMESTOWN front line instead of assuming reserve positions at
Kimpo as originally assigned. General Selden believed that putting
another regiment on the main line was essential to carrying out the
division's mission, to aggressively defend jamestown Line, not
merely to delay a Communist advance.
Only a few hours after the 5th Marines had begun its trans-Korea
move, helicopters picked up Colonel Culhane, his battalion com-
manders, and key regimental staff officers and flew them to the
relocated division command post (CP) in the west. Here, on 26
March, the regimental commander officially received the change in
the 5th Marines mission. Following this briefing, 5th Marines officers
reconnoitered the newly assigned area 13 while awaiting the arrival of
their units. When the regiment arrived on the 28th, plans had been
completed for it to relieve a part of the thinly-held 1st Marines line.
On 29 March, the 5th Marines took over the center regimental sector
while the 1st Marines, on the right regimental flank, compressed its
ranks for a more solid defense.
Frontline units, from the west, were the 1st KMCs, the 5th, and
1st Marines. To the rear, the 7th Marines, designated as division
reserve, together with organic and attached units of the division, had
established an extensive support and supply area. As a temporary
measure, a battalion of the division reserve, 2/7, was detached for
defense of the Kimpo Peninsula pending a reorganization of forces
in this area. Major logistical facilities were the division airhead,
located at K-16 airfield, just southwest of Seoul, and the railhead
at Munsan-ni, 25 miles northwest of the capital city and about five
miles to the rear of the division sector at its nearest point. Forward
of the 1st Marine Division line, outposts were established to enhance
the division's security. In the rear area the support facilities, sec-
ondary defense lines, and unit command posts kept pace with devel-
opment of defensive installations on the MLR. Throughout the 1st
15 Col Thomas A. Culhane, Jr. ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 16 Sep 59,
hereafter Culhane ltr.
Operations in West Korea Begin
Marine Division sector outpost security, field fortifications, and the
ground defense net were thorough and intended to deny the enemy
access to Seoul.
The Marines' Home in Western Korea 16
In western Korea, the home of the 1st Marine Division lay in a
particularly significant area. (See Map 2.) Within the Marine
boundaries ran the route that invaders through the ages had used
in their drive south to Seoul. It was the 1st Marine Division's
mission to block any such future attempts. One of the reasons for
moving the Marines to the west 17 was that the terrain there had to
be held at all costs; land in the east, mountainous and less valuable,
could better be sacrificed if a partial withdrawal in Korea became
necessary. At the end of March 1952, the division main line of
resistance stretched across difficult terrain for more than 30 miles,
from Kimpo to the British Commonwealth sector on the east, a
frontage far in excess of the textbook concept.
Although Seoul was not actually within the area of Marine Corps
responsibility, the capital city was only 33 air miles south of the
right limiting point of the division MLR and 26 miles southeast of
the left. The port of Inchon lay but 19 air miles south of the western
end of the division sector. Kaesong, the original site of the truce
negotiations, was 13 miles northwest of the nearest part of the 1st
Marine Division frontline while Panmunjom was less than 5 miles
away and within the area of Marine forward outpost security. From
10 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdD, Mar 52; CIA, N1S 41B, South Korea, Chap I, Brief, Section 21, Military
Geographic Regions, Section 24, Topography (Washington: 1957-1962) ; Map, Korea,
1:50,000, AMS Series L 751, Sheets 6526 I and IV, 6527 I, II, III, and IV, 6528
II and III, 6627 III and IV, and 6628 III (prepared by the Engineer, HQ, AFFE,
and AFFE/8A, 1952-1954).
17 The two other reasons were the weakness of the Kimpo defenses and abandonment
of plans for an amphibious strike along the east coast. Montross, Kuokka, and Hicks,
USMC Ops Korea, v. IV, p. 253. Planning for a Marine-led assault had been directed
by the eusak commander, General Van Fleet, early in 1952. The Marine division CG,
General Selden, had given the task to his intelligence and operations deputies, Colonel
James H. Tinsley and Lieutenant Colonel Gordon D. Gayle. On 12 March General
Van Fleet came to the Marine Division CP for a briefing on the proposed amphibious
assault. At the conclusion of the meeting the eusak commander revealed his concern
for a possible enemy attack down the Korean west coast and told the Marine com-
mander to prepare, in utmost secrecy, to move his division to the west coast. Lynn
Montross, draft MS.
Operations in West Korea Begin
the far northeastern end of the JAMESTOWN Line, which roughly par-
alleled the Imjin River, distances were correspondingly lengthened:
Inchon, thus being 39 miles southwest and Kaesong, about 17 miles
The area to which the Marines had moved was situated in the
western coastal lowlands and highlands area of northwestern South
Korea. On the left flank, the division MLR hooked around the
northwest tip of the Kimpo Peninsula, moved east across the high
ground overlooking the Han River, and bent around the northeast
cap of the peninsula. At a point opposite the mouth of the Kong-
nung River, the MLR traversed the Han to the mainland, proceeding
north alongside that river to its confluence with the Imjin. Crossing
north over the Imjin, JAMESTOWN followed the high ground on
the east bank of the Sachon River for nearly two miles to where
the river valley widened. There the MLR turned abruptly to the
northeast and generally pursued that direction to the end of the
Marine sector, meandering frequently, however, to take advantage
of key terrain. Approximately 2 l / 2 miles west of the 1st Common-
wealth Division boundary, the JAMESTOWN Line intersected the 38th
Parallel near the tiny village of Madam-ni.
Within the Marine division sector to the north of Seoul lay the
junction of two major rivers, the Imjin and the Han, and a portion
of the broad fertile valley fed by the latter. Flowing into the division
area from the east, the Imjin River snaked its way southwestward
to the rear of JAMESTOWN. At the northeastern tip of the Kimpo
Peninsula, the Imjin joined the Han. The latter there changed its
course from south to west, flowed past Kimpo and neighboring
Kanghwa-do Island, and emptied eventually into the Yellow Sea.
At the far western end of the division sector the Yom River formed
a natural boundary, separating Kanghwa and Kimpo, as it ran into
the Han River and south to the Yellow Sea. To the east, the
Sachon River streamed into the Imjin, while the Kongnung emptied
into the Han where the MLR crossed from the mainland to Kimpo.
In addition, two north-south oriented rivers flanked enemy posi-
tions opposite the Marines and emptied into major rivers in the
Marine sector. Northwest of Kimpo, the Yesong River ran south
to the Han; far to the northeast, just beyond the March 1952
division right boundary, the Samichon River flowed into the Imjin.
Although the rivers in the Marine division were navigable, they
Operations in West Korea
were little used for supply or transportation. The railroads, too,
were considered secondary ways, for there was but one line, which
ran north out of Seoul to Munsan-ni and then continued towards
Kaesong. Below the division railhead, located at Munsan-ni, a spur
cut off to Ascom City. Roads, the chief means of surface transport,
were numerous but lacked sufficient width and durability for sup-
porting heavy military traffic. Within the sector occupied by the
Marines, the main route generally paralleled the railroad. Most of
the existing roads south of jamestown eventually found their way
to the logsitic center at Munsan-ni. Immediately across the Imjin,
the road net was more dense but not of any better construction.
From the logistical point of view, the Imjin River was a critical
factor. Spanning it and connecting the division forward and rear
support areas in March 1952 were only three bridges, which were
vulnerable to river flooding conditions and possible enemy attack.
Besides intersecting the Marine sector, the Imjin formed a barrier
to the rear of much of the division MLR, thereby increasing the
difficulty of normal defense and resupply operations.
When the Marines moved to the west, the winter was just ending.
It had begun in November and was characterized by frequent light
snowfalls but otherwise generally clear skies. Snow and wind
storms seldom occurred in western Korea. From November to March
the mean daily minimum Fahrenheit readings ranged from 15° to 30°
above zero. The mean daily maximums during the summer were
between the upper 70s and mid-80s. Extensive cloud cover, fog, and
heavy rains were frequent during the summer season. Hot weather
periods were also characterized by occasional severe winds. Spring
and fall were moderate transitional seasons.
Steep-sided hills and mountains, which sloped abruptly into
narrow valleys pierced by many of the rivers and larger streams,
predominated the terrain in the I Corps sector where the Marines
located. The most rugged terrain was to the rear of the JAMESTOWN
Line; six miles northeast of the Munsan-ni railhead was a 1,948-
foot mountain, far higher than any other elevation on the Marine
or Chinese MLR but lower than the rear area peaks supporting the
Communist defenses. Ground cover in the division sector consisted
of grass, scrub brush, and, occasionally, small trees. Rice fields
crowded the valley floors. Mud flats were prevalent in many areas
immediately adjacent to the larger rivers which intersected the
Operations in West Korea Begin
division territory or virtually paralleled the east and western bound-
aries of the Marine sector.
The transfer from the Punchbowl in the east to western Korea
thus resulted in a distinct change of scene for the Marines, who
went from a rugged mountainous area to comparatively level ter-
rain. Instead of facing a line held by predominantly North Korean
forces the division was now confronted by the Chinese Communists.
The Marines also went from a front that had been characterized by
lively patrol action to one that in March 1952 was relatively dor-
mant. With the arrival of the 1st Marine Division, this critical I
Corps sector would witness sharply renewed activity and become
a focal point of action in the UNC line.
Organization of the 1st Marine Division Area 18
"To defend" were the key words in the 1st Marine Division mission
— "to organize, occupy, and actively defend its sector of Line
jamestown" — in West Korea. General Selden's force to prevent
enemy penetration of jamestown numbered 1,364 Marine officers,
24,846 enlisted Marines, 1,100 naval personnel, and 4,400 Koreans
of the attached 1st KMC Regiment. The division also had opera-
tional control of several I Corps reinforcing artillery units in its
sector. On 31 March, another major infantry unit, the Kimpo
Provisional Regiment (KPR) was organized. The division then
assumed responsibility for the Kimpo Peninsula defense on the west
flank with this Marine-Korean force.
A major reason for transfer of the 1st Marine Division to the
west, it will be remembered, had been the weakness of the Kimpo
defense. Several units, the 5th KMC Battalion, the Marine 1st
Armored Amphibian Battalion, and the 13th ROK Security Battalion
(less one company), had been charged with the protection of the
peninsula. Their operations, although coordinated by I Corps, were
conducted independently. The fixed nature of the Kimpo defenses
provided for neither a reserve maneuver element to help repel any
18 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalKpl
No. 4, Chap. 9; IstMarDi'v, IstMar, 5thMar, 7thMar, llthMar ComdDs, Mar 52;
1st KMC RCT Daily Intelligence and Operations Rpts, hereafter KMC Regt UnitRpts,
Mar 52; Kimpo ProvRegt ComdDs, hereafter KPR ComdDs, Mar-Apr 52.
Operations in West Korea
enemy action that might develop nor a single commander to coordi-
nate the operations of the defending units.
These weaknesses become more critical in consideration of the
type of facilities at Kimpo and their proximity to the South Korean
Capital. Seoul lay just east of the base of Kimpo Peninsula, sep-
arated from it only by the Han River. Located on Kimpo was the
key port of Inchon and two other vital installations, the logistical
complex at Ascom City and the Kimpo Airfield (K-14). All of
these facilities were indispensable to the United Nations Command.
To improve the security of Kimpo and provide a cohesive, inte-
grated defense line, CG, 1st Marine Division formed the inde-
pendent commands into the Kimpo Provisional Regiment. Colonel
Edward M. Staab, Jr., was named the first KPR commander. His
small headquarters functioned in a tactical capacity only without
major administrative duties. The detachments that comprised the
KPR upon its formation were:
Headquarters and Service Company, with regimental and com-
pany headquarters and a communication platoon;
1st Armored Amphibian Battalion, as supporting artillery;
5th KMC Battalion;
13th ROK Security Battalion (-) ;
One battalion from the reserve regiment of the 1st Marine
Division (2/7), as the maneuver element;
Company A, 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion;
Company B, 1st Shore Party Battalion, as engineers;
Company D, 1st Medical Battalion;
Reconnaissance Company (-), 1st Marine Division;
Detachment, Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANG-
LICO), 1st Signal Battalion;
Detachment, 181st Counterintelligence Corps Unit, USA;
Detachment, 6lst Engineer Searchlight Company, USA; and the
163rd Military Intelligence Service Detachment, USA.
The Kimpo Regiment, in addition to maintaining security of the
division left flank, was assigned the mission to "protect supporting
and communication installations in that sector against airborne or
ground attack." 10 Within the division, both the artillery regiment and
10 KPR ComdD, Mar 52, p. 13.
Operations in West Korea Begin
the motor transport battalion were to be prepared to support tactical
operations of Colonel Staab's organization.
For defense purposes, the KPR commander divided the peninsula
into three sectors. The northern one was manned by the KMC
battalion, which occupied commanding terrain and organized the
area for defense. The southern part was defended by the ROK Army
battalion, charged specifically with protection of the Kimpo Airfield
and containment of any attempted enemy attack from the north.
Both forces provided for the security of supply and communication
installations within their areas. The western sector, held by the
amphibian tractor company, less two platoons, had the mission of
screening traffic along the east bank of the Yom River, that flanked
the western part of the peninsula. Providing flexibility to the defense
plan was the maneuver unit, the battalion assigned from the 1st
Marine Division reserve.
The unit adjacent to the KPR 20 in the division line in late March
was the 1st Korean Marine Corps Regiment, which had been the
first division unit to deploy along jamestown. The KMC Regiment,
command by Colonel Kim Dong Ha, 21 had assumed responsibility
for its portion of jamestown at 0400 on 20 March with orders to
organize and defend its sector. The regiment placed two battalions,
the 3d and 1st, on the MLR and the 2d in the rear. Holding down
the regimental right of the sector was the 1st Battalion, which had
shared its eastern boundary with that of Colonel Wade's 1st Marines
until 29 March when the 5th Marines was emplaced on the MLR
between the 1st KMC and 1st Marines.
The 1st Marines regimental right boundary, which on the MLR
was 1,100 yards north of the 38th Parallel, separated the 1st Marine
Division area from the western end of the 1st Commonwealth Divi-
sion, then held by the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade. In late March,
Colonel Wade's 2/1 (Lieutenant Colonel Thell H. Fisher) and
3/1 (Lieutenant Colonel Spencer H. Pratt) manned the frontline
positions while 1/1 (Lieutenant Colonel John H. Papurca), less
Company A, was in reserve. The regiment was committed to the de-
fense of its part of the division area and improvement of its ground
20 The following month the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion would be added to
the four regiments on line, making a total of five major units manning the IstMarDiv
front. It was inserted between the Kimpo and 1st KMC regiments.
21 Commandant, Korean Marine Corps ltr to CMC, dtd 20 Sep 66, hereafter
Operations in West Korea
positions. In the division center sector Colonel Culhane's 1/5
(Lieutenant Colonel Franklin B. Nihart) and 3/5 (Lieutenant
Colonel William S. McLaughlin) manned the left and right battal-
ion MLR positions, with 2/5 (Lieutenant Colonel William H.
Cushing) in reserve. The latter unit was to be prepared either to
relieve the MLR battalions or for use as a counterattack force.
It did not take the Marines long to discover the existence of serious
flaws in the area defense which made it questionable whether the
Allied line here could have successfully withstood an enemy attack.
While his Marine units were effecting their relief of JAMESTOWN,
Colonel Wade noted that "field fortifications were practically non-
existent in some sections." 22 General Selden later pointed out that
"populated villages existed between opposing lines. Farmers were
cultivating their fields in full view of both forces. Traffic across the
river was brisk." 23 A member of the division staff reported that there
was "even a school operating in one area ahead of the Marine
lines." 24 In addition to these indications of sector weakness, there
was still another. Although the ROK division had placed three
regiments in the line, when the two Marine regiments relieved them
there were then more men on JAMESTOWN due to the greater per-
sonnel strength of a Marine regiment. Nevertheless, the division
commander was still appalled at the width of the defense sector
assigned to so few Marines.
At division level, the reserve mission was filled by Colonel Russell
E. Honsowetz', 7th Marines, minus 2/7 (Lieutenant Colonel Noel
C. Gregory) , which on 30 March became the maneuver force for the
Kimpo Regiment. As the division reserve, the regiment was to be
prepared to assume at any time either a defensive or offensive mis-
sion of any of the frontline regiments. In addition, the reserve
regiment was to draw up counterattack plans, protect the division
rear, improve secondary line defenses, and conduct training, includ-
ing tank-infantry coordination, for units in reserve. The 7th Marines,
with 3/7 (Lieutenant Colonel Houston Stiff) on the left and 1/7
(Lieutenant Colonel George W. E. Daughtry) on the right, was
emplaced in the vicinity of the secondary defense lines, WYOMING
and Kansas, to the rear of the 5 th and 1st Marines.
22 IstMar ComdD, Mar 52, p. 2.
IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52, App IX, p. 1.
24 LtCol Harry W. Edwards comments on preliminary draft MS, ca. Sep 59.
Operations in West Korea Begin
Another regiment located in the rear area was the 11th Marines.
Its artillery battalions had begun displacement on 17 March and
completed their move by 25 March. Early on the 26th, the 11th
Marines resumed support of the 1st Marine Division. While the
Marine artillery had been en route, U.S. Army artillery from I Corps
supported the division. With the arrival on the 29th of the adminis-
trative rear echelon, the Marine artillery regiment was fully posi-
tioned in the west.
For Colonel Frederick P. Henderson, who became the division
artillery commander on 27 March, operational problems in western
Korea differed somewhat from those experienced in the east by his
predecessor, Colonel Bruce T. Hemphill. The most critical difficulty,
however, was the same situation that confronted General Selden —
the vast amount of ground to be covered and defended, and the
insufficient number of units to accomplish this mission. To the
artillery, the wide division front resulted in spreading the available
fire support dangerously thin. Placement of 11th Marines units to
best support the MLR regiments created wide gaps between each
artillery battalion, caused communication and resupply difficulties,
prevented a maximum massing of fires, and made redeployment
In making use of all available fire support, the artillery regiment
had to guard not only against the duplication of effort in planning
or delivery of fires, but also against firing in the Panmunjom peace
corridor restricted areas, located near the sector held by the Marine
division's center regiment. Moreover, the artillerymen had to main-
tain a flexibility sufficient to place the weight of available fire support
on call into any zone of action.
Other difficulties were more directly associated with the nature of
the sector rather than with its broad expanse. The positioning of the
division in the west, although close to the coast, put the Marines
beyond the range of protective naval gunfire. The sparse and inade-
quate road net further aggravated the tactical and logistical problems
caused by wide separation of units. Finally, the cannoneers had
exceptionally heavy demands placed on them due to the restricted
amount of close air support allocated to frontline troops under
operational procedures employed by Fifth Air Force. This command
25 Col Frederick P. Henderson ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 25 Aug 59,
hereafter Henderson ltr I.
Operations in West Korea
had jurisdiction over the entire Korean air defense system, including
Manning the main line of resistance also frequently presented
perplexing situations to the infantry. There had been little time for
a thorough reconnaissance and selection of positions by any of the
frontline regiments. When the 1st Marines moved into its assigned
position on the MLR, the troops soon discovered many minefields,
"some marked, some poorly marked, and some not marked at all." 20
Uncharted mines caused the regiment to suffer "some casualties the
first night of our move and more the second and third days." 27 As
it was to turn out, during the first weeks in the I Corps sector, mines
of all types caused 50 percent of total Marine casualties.
A heavy drain on the limited manpower of Marine infantry regi-
ments defending Jamestown was caused by the need to occupy an
additional position, an outpost line of resistance (OPLR). This
defensive line to the front of the Marine MLR provided additional
security against the enemy, but decreased the strength of the regi-
mental reserve battalion, which furnished the OPLR troops. The
outposts manned by the Marines consisted of a series of strongpoints
built largely around commanding terrain features that screened the
1st Marine Division area. The OPLR across the division front was,
on the average, about 2,500 yards forward of the MLR. (See Map 3 )
To the rear of the main line were two secondary defensive lines,
Wyoming and KANSAS. Both had been established before the
Marines arrived and both required considerable work, primarily
construction of bunkers and weapons emplacements, to meet General
Selden's strict requirement for a strong defensive sector. Work in
improving the lines, exercises in rapid battalion tactical deployment
by helicopter, and actual manning of the lines were among the
many tasks assigned to the division reserve regiment.
Rear and frontline units alike found that new regulations affected
combat operations with the enemy in West Korea. These restrictions
were a result of the truce talks that had taken place first at Kaesong
and, later, at Panmunjom. In line with agreements reached in
Panmunjom was designated as the center of a circular neutral zone of a
1,000 yard radius, and a three mile radius around Munsan and Kaesong was
20 Col Sidney S. Wade ltr to Deputy AsstCofS, G-3, HQMC, dtd 25 Aug 59-
Operations in West Korea
also neutralized, as well as two hundred meters on either side of the
Kaesong-Munsan road. 28
To prevent the occurrence of any hostile act within this sanctuary,
Lieutenant General John W. O'Daniel, I Corps commander, ordered
that an additional area, forward of the OPLR, be set aside. This
megaphone-shaped zone "could not be fired into, out of, or over." 29
It was adjacent to the OPLR in the division center regimental sector,
near its left boundary, and took a generally northwest course.
Marines reported that the Communists knew of this restricted zone
and frequently used it for assembly areas and artillery emplacements.
The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing 30
When the 1st Marine Division moved to western Korea in March
1952, the two 1st Marine Aircraft Wing units that had been in
direct support of the ground Marines also relocated. Marine Obser-
vation Squadron 6 (VMO-6) and Marine Helicopter Transport
Squadron 161 (HMR-161) completed their displacements by 24
March from their eastern airfield (X-83) to sites in the vicinity of
the new division CP. HMR-161, headed by Colonel Keith B. Mc-
Cutcheon, set up headquarters at A-17, 31 on a hillside 3^ miles
southeast of Munsan-ni, the division railhead, "using a couple of
rice paddies as our L. Z. (Landing Zone)." 32 The squadron rear
echelon, including the machine shops, was maintained at A-33, near
Ascom City. About 2^ miles south of the helicopter forward site
was an old landing strip, A-9, which Lieutenant Colonel William T.
Herring's observation squadron used as home field for its fixed and
rotary wing aircraft. (For location of 1st MAW units see Map 4.) In
West Korea, VMO-6 and HMR-161 continued to provide air trans-
port for tactical and logistical missions. Both squadrons were under
operational control of the division, but administered by the wing.
Commanding General of the 1st MAW, since 27 July 1951,
2S Rees, Korea, p. 295.
20 IstMarDiv ComdD, Mar 52, p. 7.
30 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from PacFlt EvalRpt
No. 4, Chap. 10; IstMarDiv ComdD, Mar 52; 1st MAW ComdDs, Mar-Apr 52.
31 In Korea, fields near U.S. Army installations were known as "A"; major airfields
carried a "K" designation; and auxiliary strips were the "X" category.
32 MajGen Keith B. McCutcheon comments on draft MS, dtd 1 Sep 66.
Operations in West Korea
was Major General Christian F. Schilt, 33 a Marine airman who had
brought to Korea a vast amount of experience as a flying officer.
Entering the Marine Corps in June 1917, he had served as an enlisted
man with the 1st Marine Aeronautical Company in the Azores dur-
ing World War I. Commissioned in 1919, he served in a variety of
training and overseas naval air assignments. As a first lieutenant in
Nicaragua, he had been awarded the Medal of Honor in 1928 for
his bravery and "almost superhuman skill" in flying out Marines
wounded at Quilali. 34 During World War II, General Schilt had
served as 1st MAW Assistant Chief of Staff, at Guadalcanal, was
later CO of Marine Aircraft Group 11, and participated in the con-
solidation of the Southern Solomons and air defense of Peleliu and
As in past months, the majority of General Schilt's Marine air-
craft in Korea during March 1952 continued to be under oper-
ational control of Fifth Air Force. In turn, FAF was the largest
subordinate command of Far East Air Forces (feaf), headquartered
at Tokyo. The latter was the U.S. Air Force component of the Far
East Command and encompassed all USAF installations in the Far
East. The FAF-eusak Joint Operations Center (JOC) at Seoul co-
ordinated and controlled all Allied air operations in Korea. Marine
fighter and attack squadrons were employed by FAF to:
Maintain air superiority.
Furnish close support for ground units.
Provide escort [for attack aircraft].
Conduct day and night reconnaissance and fulfill requests.
Effect the complete interdiction of North Korean and Chinese Communist
forces and other military targets that have an immediate effect upon the
current tactical situation. 35
Squadrons carrying out these assignments were attached to Marine
Aircraft Groups (MAGs) 12 and 33. Commanded by Colonel
Luther S. Moore, MAG-12 and its two day attack squadrons
(VMF-212 and VMF-323) in March 1952 was still located in
eastern Korea (K-18, Kangnung). The Marine night-fighters of
VMF(N)-513 were also here as part of the MAG-12 group.
Farther removed from the immediate battlefront was Colonel Martin
33 Divlnfo, HQMC, Biography of General Christian F. Schilt, USMC (Ret.), Jun 59 rev.
34 Robert Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (Washing-
ton: Combat Forces Press, 1952), p. 26, hereafter Sherrod, Marine Aviation.
35 1st MAW ComdD, Mar 52, p. 2.
Operations in West Korea Begin
A. Severson's MAG-33, located at K-3 (Pohang), with its two
powerful jet fighter squadrons (VMFs-115 and -311) and an
attack squadron (VMA-121). A new MAG-33 unit was Marine
Photographic Squadron 1 (VMJ-l), just formed in February 1952
and commanded by Major Robert R. Read.
In addition to its land-based squadrons, one 1st MAW unit was
assigned to Commander, West Coast Blockading and Patrol Group,
designated Commander, Task Group 95.1 (CTG 95.1). He in turn
assigned this Marine unit to Commander, Task Element 95.11 (CTE
95.11), whose ships comprised the West Coast Carrier Element.
Marine Attack Squadron 312 (VMA-312) was at this time assigned
to CTE 95.11. In late March squadron aircraft were based on the
escort carrier USS Bairoko but transferred on 21 April to the light
carrier Bataan. 36 Operating normally with a complement of 21
F4U-4 propeller-driven Corsair aircraft, VMA-312 had the follow-
To conduct armed air reconnaissance of the West Coast of Korea from
the United Nations front lines northward to latitude 39°/15' N.
Attack enemy shipping and destroy mines.
Maintain surveillance of enemy airfields in the Haeju-Chinnampo
Provide air spot services to naval units on request.
Provide close air support and armed air reconnaissance services as re-
quested by Joint Operations Center, Korea (JOC KOREA).
Conduct air strikes against coastal and inland targets of opportunity at
Be prepared to provide combat air patrol to friendly naval forces operating
off the West Coast of Korea.
Render SAR [search and rescue} assistance.
Because they were under operational control of Fifth Air Force,
1st MAW flying squadrons, except those assigned to CTG 95.1 and
1st Marine Division control, did not change their dispositions in
March. Plans were under way at this time, however, to relocate one
of the aircraft groups, MAG-12, to the west.
On 30 March the ground element of the night-fighters redeployed
30 Unit commanders also changed about this time. Lieutenant Colonel Robert E.
Smith, Jr. assumed command of the Checkerboard squadron from Lieutenant Colonel
Joe H. McGlothlin, on 9 April.
;i7 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 10-75. The Haeju-Chinnampo region, noted in the
surveillance mission, is a coastal area in southwestern North Korea between the 38th
and 39th Parallels.
Operations in West Korea
from its east coast home field to K-8 (Kunsan), on the west coast,
105 miles south of Seoul. Lieutenant Colonel John R. Burnett's VMF
(N)-513 completed this relocation by 11 April without loss of a
single day of flight operations. On 20 April the rest of MAG-12, 38
newly commanded since the first of the month by Colonel Elmer T.
Dorsey, moved to K-6 (Pyongtaek), located 30 miles directly south
of the South Korean capital.
Marine aircraft support units were also located at K-3 and at
Itami Air Force Base, on Honshu, Japan. Under direct 1st MAW
control were four ground-type logistical support units with MAG-33,
a Provisional Automatic Weapons Battery from Marine Air Control
Group 2 (MACG-2), and most of wing headquarters. This last
unit, commanded by Colonel Frederick R. Payne, Jr., included the
1st 90mm AAA Gun Battalion (based at Pusan and led by Colonel
Max C. Chapman), and a detachment of Marine Transport Squa-
dron 152 (VMR-152), which had seven Douglas four-engine R5D
transports. This element and the wing service squadron were based
Marines, and others flying in western Korea, found themselves
restricted much as Marines on the ground were. One limitation
resulted from a FAF-eusak agreement in November 1951 limiting
the number of daily close air support sorties across the entire Eighth
Army line. This policy had restricted air activity along the 155-
mile Korean front to 96 sorties per day. The curtailment seriously
interfered with the Marine type of close air support teamwork
evolved during World War II, and its execution had an adverse
effect on Marine ground operations as well. A second restriction,
also detrimental to Marine division and wing efficiency, was the
prohibitive cushion Fifth Air Force had placed around the United
Nations peace corridor area north of the Marine MLR. This buffer
no-fly, no-fire zone which had been added to prevent violation of
the UN sanctuary by stray hits did not apply, of course, to the
3s VMFs-212 (LtCol Roert L. Bryson) and -323 (LtCol Richard L. Blume) left an
east coast field for a flight mission over North Korea and landed at K-6 thereafter, also
completing the move without closing down combat operations. The relocation in air-
fields was designed to keep several squadrons of support aircraft close to the 1st Marine
Division. Col E. T. Dorsey ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 7 Sep 66.
Operations in West Korea Begin
Directly beyond the 1st Marine Division sector, to the west and
north, were two first-rate units of the Chinese Communist Forces,
the 65th and 63d CCF Armies. Together, they totaled approximately
49,800 troops in late March 1952. Opposite the west and center of
the Marine division front was the 65th CCF Army, with elements
of the 193d Division across from the KPR and the 194th Division
holding positions opposing the KMC regiment. Across from the
Marine line in the center was the 195th Division of the 65th CCF
Army, which had placed two regiments forward. North of the divi-
sion right sector lay the 188th Division, 63d CCF Army, also with
two regiments forward. The estimated 15 infantry battalions facing
the Marine division were supported by 10 organic artillery battalions,
numbering 106 guns, and varying in caliber from 75 to 155mm. 40
In addition, intelligence reported that the 1st CCF Armored Divi-
sion and an unidentified airborne brigade were located near enough
to aid enemy operations.
Chinese infantry units were not only solidly entrenched across their
front line opposite the Marine division but were also in depth. Their
successive defensive lines, protected by minefields, wire, and other
obstacles, were supported by artillery and had been, as a result of
activities in recent months, supplied sufficiently to conduct continuous
operations. Not only were enemy ground units well-supplied, but
their CCF soldiers were well disciplined and well led. Their morale
was officially evaluated as ranging from good to excellent. In all, the
CCF was a determined adversary of considerable ability, with their
greatest strength being in plentiful combat manpower.
Air opposition to Marine pilots in Korea was of unknown quan-
tity and only on occasion did the caliber of enemy pilots approach
that of the Americans. Pilots reported that their Chinese counter-
parts generally lacked overall combat proficiency, but that at times
their "aggressiveness, sheer weight of numbers, and utter disregard
for losses have counterbalanced any apparent deficiencies." 41 The
39 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpt
No. 4, Chaps. 9, 10; IstMarDiv ComdD, Mar 52.
40 The Korean Marine Corps placed the artillery count at 240 weapons ranging from
57 to 122mm. CKMC hr.
"PacFlt EvalRpt, No. 4^p. 10-38.
Operations in West Korea
Communists had built their offensive potential around the Russian
MIG-15 jet fighter-interceptor. Use of this aircraft for ground sup-
port or ground attack was believed to be in the training stage only.
The Chinese had also based their air defense on the same MIG
plus various types of ground antiaircraft (AA) weapons, particu-
larly the mobile 37mm automatic weapons and machine guns that
protected their main supply routes. In use of these ground AA wea-
pons, enemy forces north of the 38th Parallel had become most pro-
ficient. Their defense system against UNC planes had been steadily
built up and improved since stabilization of the battle lines in 1951,
and by March 1952 was reaching a formidable state.
As the more favorable weather for ground combat approached
toward the end of March, the CCF was well prepared to continue
and expand its operations. Enemy soldiers were considered able to
defend their sector easily with infantry and support units. Division
intelligence also reported that Chinese ground troops had the capa-
bility for launching limited objective attacks to improve their obser-
vation of Marine MLR rear areas.
Initial CCF Attack* 2
Whether by intent or default, the Chinese infantry occupying the
enemy forward positions did not interfere with the Marine relief.
With assumption of sector responsibility by the division early on
25 March, the initial enemy contact came from Chinese supporting
weapons. Later that day the two division frontline regiments, the
1st and 5th Marines, received 189 mortar and artillery shells in
their sectors which wounded 10 Marines. One man in the 1st Marines
was killed by sniper fire on 25 March; in the same regiment, another
Marine was fatally wounded the following day. Forward of the
lines, the day after the division took over, there was no ground
action by either side.
During the rest of the month, the tempo of activities on both sides
increased. Marines began regular patrol actions to probe and ambush
the enemy. Division artillery increased its number of observed mis-
sions by the end of the month. By this time the CCF had also begun
"Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdDs, Mar-Apr 52; KMC Regt UnitRpt 31, dtd 2 Apr 52.
Operations in West Korea Begin
to probe the lines of the Marine regimental sectors. In these ground
actions to reconnoiter and test division defenses, the Chinese became
increasingly bold, with the most activity on 28 March. Between 25-
31 March, the first week on jamestown, some 100 Chinese engaged
in 5 different probing actions. Most of these were against the 1st
KMC Regiment on the left flank of the division MLR.
It was no wonder that the Chinese concentrated their effort against
the Korean Marines, for they held the area containing Freedom
Gate, the best of the three bridges spanning the Imjin. Both of the
other two, X-Ray and Widgeon, were further east in the division
sector. If the enemy could exploit a weak point in the KMC lines,
he could attack in strength, capture the bridge, and turn the divi-
sion left flank, after which he would have a direct route to Seoul. 48
Without the bridge in the KMC sector, the division would be hard
pressed, even with helicopter lift, to maneuver or maintain the regi-
ments north of the Imjin.
On 1 April, at about 2130, the CCF began pounding the front-
line companies in the KMC area with an artillery preparation. A
half hour later, the enemy attacked an outpost and the main line.
First to engage the Chinese were the OPLR troops of the KMC 1st
Company, 1st Battalion, on the regimental right. There, a Chinese
company forced an opening between friendly outposts and reached
a point about 200 yards short of the MLR and just north of a
road leading to the main bridge over the Imjin. While this attack
was in progress, another CCF company hit the outpost line further
south. This attack, less successful, ended far short of the MLR and
about a half-mile south of the bridge road. Both enemy companies
withdrew at about 2345.
To the left of the 1st Battalion, the 3d was receiving the brunt
of this initial CCF attack. The 9th, 11th, and 10th Companies
(deployed in that order from west to east, in the left battalion sec-
tor) , had been engaged by the same preliminary 30-minute shelling.
At 2200, when four CCF squads attacked the two companies on the
left, an enemy company hit the left end of the 10th Company, occu-
pied by the 2d Platoon. About midnight the South Koreans, under
fire from both flanks and under heavy frontal assault, were forced
to withdraw. In the rear, the company commander pulled the 1st
J:: Henderson Itr 1.
Operations in West Korea
Platoon from the line, ordered the 3d to extend left to cover both
sectors, and led a counterattack with the 1st Platoon and elements
of the 2d. Positions were quickly restored by the KMC action.
Soon after it had hurled the Chinese back across the OPLR, the
1st Battalion was subjected to a second attack. An enemy unit, esti-
mated to be a company, engaged a 1st Company platoon briefly.
When the KMCs returned heavy defensive fires, the Communists
pulled back but struck again at 0300. After a 20-minute fire fight,
the Chinese company retreated.
This action on 1-2 April cost the attackers 2 killed, 34 estimated
killed, and 10 estimated wounded. For the KMC, casualties were 2
killed, 10 wounded. To all 1st Division Marines, the successful
defense by the 1st KMC regimental Marines was heartening. It had
preserved not only the division western flank but also the vital link
over the Imjin.
Subsequent CCF Attacks 44
Following his attempted assault against the KMC regiment, the
enemy opposite the 1st Marine Division reverted to a passive defense.
Except for a probe late on 2 April of the far eastern line held by
Lieutenant Colonel Pratt's 3/1 and two patrols that scouted MLR
positions in the western Korean Marine area that same date, Com-
munist offensive measures consisted largely of artillery and mortar
fire. Chinese line units appeared to concentrate on improving their
dugouts and trench systems. Marines reported frequent sightings of
enemy groups working in and around their forward trenches.
Marine division troops, too, were busy fortifying their defensive
positions. On the Kimpo Peninsula they dug gun emplacements and
erected camp facilities for the newly activated Kimpo Provisional
Regiment. North of the Han, mine clearance and construction of
trenchworks and fortifications was the order of the day for most
Marines. Other Marines patrolled forward of the lines as a major
aspect of the division's continuous active defense. During daylight
hours, MLR regiments dispatched reconnaissance and combat patrols
and sent out snipers, armed with telescope-equipped M— 1 rifles.
44 Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section'is derived from: IstMarDiv,
IstMar, 5thMar, KPR ComdDs, Apr 52; KMC Regt UnitRpt 35, dtd 16 Apr 52.
Operations in West Korea Begin
Division tanks firing from temporary gun slots on the main line
and artillery batteries emplaced in rear area dugouts hammered
away at enemy positions and disposed of his patrols. At night, harass-
ing and interdicting (H&I) artillery fires and infantry raids con-
tinued to keep the Communists off-balance.
A combat raid on 5 April typified the extensive Marine division
night activities forward of the line. Conducted by three platoons,
less a squad, of the KMC 10th Company, the raiding party had the
mission of capturing prisoners. Departing the MLR at 2300, the
Korean Marines worked their way over the low ground and then
crossed the Sachon River. Immediately thereafter the raid leader,
who was the 10th Company commander (First Lieutenant No Won
Keun) dispatched two squad-sized ambushes along the patrol route.
The raiders then continued northwest toward their objective, an area
near the village of Tonggang-ni, a half mile beyond the river. When
about 50 yards from its objective, the patrol ran into tactical wire
and an enemy sentry, who alerted his unit by rifle fire. The KMC
raiders opened up and called in pre-planned mortar and artillery
support. The CCF defenders replied immediately with rifles and
machine gun fire.
To complete the maneuver, the patrol leader positioned his ma-
chine guns to fire on the Communist flanks and directed one platoon
to prepare for a frontal assault on the defenders. At 0148, the 1st
Platoon attacked from the right. A minute later the 2d Platoon
charged headlong at the defenders. Hand-to-hand fighting followed
until the Chinese broke contact and disappeared into bunkers within
the trenchline. From inside, the CCF soldiers continued the battle,
firing through gun revetments and wounding several KMC pursuers
in the legs. After 30 minutes had passed, the South Korean assault
troops observed enemy reinforcements moving in from the north-
west. At 0230, the Marine patrol withdrew under the cover of artil-
lery, reaching its battalion MLR at 0400. The raiders brought back
seven civilians found in the area and several Russian-made carbines.
At the cost of 2 killed and 18 wounded, the KMCs inflicted casual-
ties totaling 12 counted killed and 25 estimated wounded.
Other division patrols similarly took into custody civilians living
between the MLR and OPLR. It was also the job of these patrols
to destroy buildings that the enemy had used. On the night of 5
April, 5th Marines patrols apprehended 34 civilians, and a wounded
Operations in West Korea
enemy soldier. The day before, a patrol from 2/1 had also captured
a Chinese soldier.
On 12 and 13 April, the enemy stepped up his ground actions.
He launched two probes against the 5th Marines occupying the cen-
ter regimental sector. Both attempts were beaten back. The 1st Ma-
rines on the extreme right flank encountered little hostile activity,
but in the western KMC sector, Chinese shelling increased noticeably.
The following day the artillery picked up again, accompanied by
several infantry probes directed against the two KMC frontline bat-
talions. To the right, the Chinese also tested 5th Marines lines
again. On the far right, in the area held by the 1st Marines, an air
alert was sounded from 0410 to 0726, but no enemy aircraft
appeared. By mid-month, the Chinese were dispatching fewer infan-
try probes but firing a greater number of artillery and mortar shells
toward the division line. The enemy even sent 25 rounds to Kimpo,
where a total of only 4 had fallen during the first two weeks in April.
Ushering in the second half of April was another Communist
attack, this one on 15-16 April and to be the last that month against
the central part of the Marine Division sector. This attempt to
breach the Marine lines was directed against Company E of 2/5,
manning an outpost position on the OPLR. The rest of the battalion
was now holding the left sector of the center regimental front, hav-
ing assumed its new mission on line three days earlier in relief of
1/5, which reverted to the role of regimental reserve. Northwest of
the 5th Marines MLR, the Company E commander, Captain Charles
C. Matthews, had placed a reinforced rifle platoon. His Marines had
occupied several dug-in positions near the top of a 400-foot hill,
known as Outpost 3 (OP 3). (See Map 5.) The platoon had been
improving this outpost area and fortifications so that the bunkers
could be employed for living and fighting. 45 During the afternoon
and again at dusk on 15 April the Communists had shelled this loca-
tion. One Marine was wounded in the second firing.
At 2330 on 15 April, Company E reported that a green flare cluster
had just burst over Hill 67, approximately 1,900 yards southwest of
OP 3 and just beyond the OPLR. This signal triggered a 20-minute
heavy enemy preparation of 76mm artillery and 120mm mortars on
the friendly outpost and its supporting mortar position. Ten minutes
Chapter III discusses in detail the construction of bunkers.
Operations in West Korea
before midnight, another green flare exploded over the same height,
and the shelling stopped. After five minutes the signal reappeared.
Immediately thereafter, the Chinese shifted their artillery and mortar
fire to an area west of the OP 3 mortar site and north of a Com-
pany F observation post. At the same time, the enemy attacked Out-
Initially, the Chinese struck the Marine defenses in a frontal assault,
but as the fighting progressed enemy forces quickly enveloped the
outpost and charged it simultaneously from three sides. The vastly
outnumbered Marine defenders withdrew into a tight perimeter at
the southeastern corner of the outpost where their defending fire-
power prevented the enemy from seizing the position. Within 15
minutes the enemy had surrounded the Marines and severed the out-
post communications, but could not take the outpost. The CCF sol-
diers then pulled back and let their artillery soften OP 3 while they
regrouped for another assault. The Chinese soon stormed the outpost
a second time, but were again unsuccessful. Moreover, they lost three
of their men who were captured by the tenacious 2/5 defenders.
The fighting continued until 0315, reaching a hand-to-hand clash
at one stage. In addition to mortar and artillery fire, the enemy
employed small arms, automatic weapons, hand and stick-type gre-
nades, bangalore torpedoes, and 57mm recoilless rifles. During the
attack, patrols were sent out from the MLR and OP 2, to the west,
to reestablish contact and help with casualty evacuation.
Well to the rear of the outpost and unknown to its occupants,
intelligence personnel intercepted a Chinese message ordering the
Communists to withdraw. Immediately, friendly artillery fired on all
known escape routes available to the attackers. Despite this interdict-
ing fire, the enemy soldiers managed to withdraw without further
loss. Their unsuccessful thrust against the 2/5 OPLR cost the Chinese
25 known killed, 25 estimated killed, 45 known wounded, and 3
prisoners. Marine casualties were 6 killed, 5 missing, and 25 wounded
and evacuated. 40
Why the Chinese had selected OP 3 for their mid-April attack is
not known. Several theories, however, have been advanced by those
46 One of those wounded was Corporal Duane E. Dewey, a machine gunner. He was
wounded twice, in fact, the second time from an exploding enemy grenade which he had
rolled upon to shield two nearby comrades. Dewey somehow survived, and the following
March, after release from the Marine Corps, he went to the White House where he
received the Medal of Honor, the first to be presented by the new President, Dwight D.
Eisenhower. (Duane E. Dewey Biog. File)
Operations in West Korea Begin
involved in the action. Colonel Culhane, the regimental commander,
believed that the enemy incursion "was the direct result of the aggres-
sive patrols that frequently used the outpost as a point of departure.
..." 47 Brigadier General Merrill B. Twining, the assistant division
commander since 22 March, declared that the position was too large
for a reinforced platoon to hold. 48 Perhaps the Chinese had harbored
the same thoughts before the night of 15-16 April.
Just before its OPLR was withdrawn in favor of an observation
line, the 1st Korean Regiment was struck by the Chinese in the area
immediately north of the 1-2 April clash. Beginning at 0100 on 17
April, the enemy placed a 15-minute preparatory fire on the left flank
of the 3d Battalion, occupying the regimental right sector. The CCF
then probed friendly lines in and around the area pounded during
the preliminary fires. Three separate attacks took place before 0400,
when the Communists withdrew. In these probes, the Chinese made
free use of automatic weapons; the enemy's well-coordinated action
attested to their training and discipline. Confirmed casualties were
36 CCF and 2 Koreans killed. The KMCs suffered 5 wounded and
estimated that 70 Chinese had been wounded. Although the South
Koreans frequently called down artillery support during the attack,
most of the casualties inflicted on the enemy were from rifle and
machine gun fire. The 17 April probe was to mark the last major
infantry action for the 1st Marine Division during its second month
Throughout the month a total of 5,000 rounds of artillery fire and
3,786 rounds of mortar fire fell in the division sector. On 2 April
the greatest volume for any single day was received: 3,000 artillery
and 118 mortar rounds. An average day's incoming, during April,
was approximately 167 artillery and 125 mortar rounds.
Strengthening the Line 49
Even before the Communists had launched their mid-April attacks
against jamestown, the 1st Marine Division had implemented plans
47 Culhane llr.
48 LtGen Merrill B. Twining ltr to Deputy Asst CofS, G-3, HQMC, dtd 19 Aug 54.
49 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFll Eval
Rp/No.4, Chap. 9; IstMarDiv ComdD, Apr 52; KMC Regt UnitRpt 46, dtd 17 Apr 52.
Operations in West Korea
to strengthen its line in western Korea. Besides the digging, timber-
ing, and sandbagging to accomplish a major improvement of the
physical defenses, General Selden required Marine infantry regi-
ments to conduct an aggressive defense of their sector of respon-
sibility. He ordered MLR units to employ snipers all along james-
town and to dispatch daily patrols forward of the line to ambush,
raid, kill, or capture Chinese and their positions. The division com-
mander further directed that supporting arms such as artillery, tank,
and air, when available, be used to destroy hostile defenses, harass
the enemy, and break up his assemblies as well as to protect Marine
As a result of an I Corps directive, the 1st Marine Division
assumed responsibility for an additional 6,800 yards of front on
14 April from the 1st Commonwealth Division sector to the right
of the division. In preparation, the 5th Marines had taken over the
western end of the 1st Marines sector, held by 2/1, two days earlier.
On the 14th the 1st Marines, newly commanded by Colonel Walter
N. Flournoy, 50 extended its line eastward to assume new limiting
points and part of the MLR in the western part of the Canadian
Brigade sector. Relief of the Commonwealth unit was completed
without any difficulty or enemy interference. This additional yardage,
plus the Kimpo Peninsula front, now stretched the Marine division
MLR to 3 5 J/2 mi les.
As a result, General Selden found it necessary to withdraw the
division general outpost line in order to build up his main line of
resistance. On 17 April, the 1st KMC Regiment reduced its OPLR
to an OPLO (outpost line of observation) and the left battalion
pulled its MLR back to more defensible ground. The Marine division
center and right regiments withdrew their outpost lines on 23 and
24 April. Both regiments then established forward outposts and lis-
tening posts which, in many cases, utilized former OPLR positions.
Many of these posts were manned during daylight hours only.
Abandonment of the forward OPLR added strength to the main
line, but it also meant that frontline battalions had to commit all
their companies on line, thus losing their reserve. To prevent Chinese
occupation of desirable terrain features on the former OPLR, the divi-
sion dispatched combat and reconnaissance patrols forward of its
Colonel Flournoy became regimental CO on 10 April, succeeding Colonel Wade.
Operations in West Korea Begin
line. In the KMC sector, the only Marine area favorable for tank
operations forward of jamestown, tank-infantry patrols were peri-
To the west of the KMC sector, the Marine 1st Amphibian Trac-
tor Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Michiel Dobervich) was assigned
a section of the Kansas Line to defend, beginning 16 April. Rein-
forced by attachment of the Division Reconnaissance Company (Ma-
jor Ephraim Kirby-Smith) that same day, Lieutenant Colonel Dober-
vich employed Company C (two platoons), the headquarters LVT
platoon, and the reconnaissance unit to man 30 defensive positions
from the Han River eastward to the KMC western boundary. 51
Two other measures to strengthen his sector of jamestown were
utilized by the Marine division commander. On 18 April, he asked
General O'Daniel to reconsider the no-fire zone recently established
by the corps commander. General Selden, who had received reports
of Chinese use of the sanctuary located within Marine Corps territory
— for firing positions and assembly areas primarily — recommended,
after I Corps had refused him permission to fire into the haven, a
redrawing of the O'Daniel line to coincide more closely with the
boundaries established by the UN. Approval along the lines sub-
mitted by the division was given by I Corps that same day. The sec-
ond measure employed by General Selden was use of an additional
defensive line, WYOMING forward. This position, closely paralleling
jamestown in the KMC and 5th Marines sectors, added depth to
the sector defenses.
A unique rescue and recovery operation also came into existence
about this time. On 19 April the division ordered the 5th Marines,
occupying the center regimental sector, to organize a tank-infantry
force for rescue of the United Nations Truce Team, should such
action become necessary. The regimental plan, published on 22 April,
utilized a reinforced rifle company-tank company organization di-
rectly supported by organic 5th Marines 4.2-inch mortars and 1/11.
The Everready Rescue Force, from the regimental reserve, occupied
the high ground (OP 2) east of and dominating Panmunjom.
In addition to setting forth organizational details of the task unit,
the 5th Marines Operational Plan 6-52 specified the method of
operation for the rescue force. Taking advantage of the peace corri-
61 Company A, 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion had been attached to the Kimpo Pro-
visional Regiment since 31 March and Company B was supporting MAG-33 at Pohang.
Operations in West Korea
dor in the western end of the center sector, a Forward Covering
Force would speed tank-riding infantry to the high ground one-half
mile beyond the objective, Panmunjon. Following would be the Pick-
Up Force, from the 1st Tank Battalion Headquarters Platoon, which
would retrieve the principal UN delegates and take them quickly
to the assembly area two miles to the rear of the MLR. A Real
Covering Force, composed of a tank-infantry element, would follow
the Pick-Up force both on its way towards the objective and on the
return trip. Withdrawal of both covering forces was regulated by a
series of phase lines.
Marine Air Operations™
Even though the Marine air-ground team had been shorn of much
of its tactical aviation, what remained was well utilized. Helicopter
troop operations had become commonplace by the end of April 1952.
That month there were three exercises to further evaluate tactical
concepts of helicopter employment. Operation pronto, conducted on
5 April, was the first major troop lift in the new I Corps sector. In
this maneuver approximately 670 troops of 2/7 and 10,000 pounds
of rations were transported by helicopter and truck from the
Munsan-ni vicinity across the Han River to the Kimpo Peninsula.
Here the reserve battalion served as a counterattack force in a hypo-
thetical enemy landing. Due to the necessity for avoiding the neu-
trality zone in the Munsan area, round-trip flights averaged about
The exercise combined the shortest notice and longest distance of
any large-scale helicopter troop movement conducted by HMR— 161.
It pointed to the fact that a helicopter unit could successfully lift a
troop organization virtually as an "on call" tactical tool and without
the benefit of previous liaison.
Operation leapfrog, on 18-19 April, transported one KMC batta-
lion across the Han to the peninsula and lifted out another the fol-
lowing day. The purpose of this test was to determine the feasibility
52 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt Eval
Rpt No. 4, Chaps. 9, 10; 1st MAW, HMR-161, VMO-6 ComdDs, Apr 52; Lynn Mon-
tross, Cavalry of the Sky — The Story of U. S. Marine Combat Helicopters (New York:
Harper & Brothers, 1954), hereafter Montross, SkyCav, quoted with permission of the
Operations in West Korea Begin
of a replacement movement conducted over water, with "consider-
ation given to the language barrier existing between the troops and
the transporting facility." 53 The six-mile round trip was the shortest
troop haul yet made by the transport chopper squadron. Conse-
quently, it took the 12 HRS-1 single-engine Sikorsky aircraft only
3 hours and 26 minutes to complete the exchange of the 1,702
Colonel McCutcheon's HMR-161 pilots found that their heli-
copters could carry six combat-equipped Korean Marines instead of
five American Marines, due to the smaller size and weight of the
average Korean. Since the U.S. and KMC Marine battalions were
the same size, the larger load factor for the Korean Marines enabled
their unit to be moved faster. In leapfrog the language difference
proved to be no handicap, since there were sufficient interpreters on
hand and the troops were cooperative. Helicopter pilots could use
landing sites close together because the terrain was open and the
area of operations beyond the reach of Chinese artillery.
Close on the heels of leapfrog came a third airlift. Operation
circus, conducted on 23 April, provided for the air deployment of
the 7th Marines reserve regiment, minus two battalions, across the
Imjin to landing sites just to the rear of the secondary defensive
line, Wyoming forward. Ten helicopters carried 1,185 Marines
over the river barrier to blocking positions in 90 minutes. The circus
exercise illustrated that a minimum distance should be maintained
between loading and unloading sites for a safe and efficient trans-
port operation. It also pointed up that "consideration must be given
to the number of aircraft assigned to each traffic pattern during
short hops over a river." 54 This successful maneuver came three
days before all HRS-1 aircraft were grounded due to a defect in
the tail rotors. By mid-May the problem had been corrected and
the aircraft returned to flying status.
During April, Lieutenant Colonel Herring's VMO— 6 employed its
11 single-engine OE-1 observation planes for a total of 508 fixed-
wing combat flights. More than half of these, 275, were for artillery
spotting; of the remainder, 166 were flown for reconnaissance and
67 represented photo, weather, liaison, and area check-out maneuvers.
53 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, 10-73.
54 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-50.
Operations in West Korea
Combat flights by the squadron helicopters 55 during the month were
110 liaison, 45 reconnaissance, and 93 evacuations. Of the total 756
combat flights performed by both fixed-wing and rotary craft, 511
were over enemy territory.
During that same month, Marine squadrons operating under the
Fifth Air Force put a total of 2,708 planes into the air despite restric-
tive or prohibitive weather on 20 days. Continuing its emphasis on
attacking the North Korean transportation system, the Air Force
command dispatched 1,397 Marine planes on interdiction missions.
Marine-piloted close air support sorties flown to assist the 1st Marine
Division numbered only 56 throughout April; those piloted by Ma-
rines for 16 other UN divisions totaled 547.
Not all the air sortie records were made by land-based Marine
squadrons. On 18 April, VMA-312, the CTE 95.11 squadron pro-
vided by the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, flew 80 sorties, a Korean
record for a carrier-based squadron to that date and twice the daily
average for the initial six months of 1952.
By 20 April the three tactical squadrons of MAG-12— VMF(N)-
513, VMF-212, and VMF-323— had completed their relocations on
the Korean west coast. Two days later, combined MAG-12 attack
and —33 jet aircraft participated in what was a Fifth Air Force
one-day combat record: 1,049 sorties.
One MAG-33 unit, the newly-formed Marine Photographic Squad-
dron 1, was already flying a large number of aerial reconnaissance
missions directed by Fifth Air Force. It provided almost one-third of
the daylight photo effort required by FAF with but one-quarter of
the aircraft. 50 VMJ-I's complement of a dozen 550 mph McDonnell
twin-jet Banshee F2H-2P aircraft mounted three cameras and were
capable both of high altitude work and good speed. Introduction
of this single-seat jet was considered the "first important develop-
55 Rotary wing aircraft assigned were two types, HTL-^t and H03S-1. The former is
a two-place, plastic-dome Bell product; the latter, the first helicopter operated by the
Marine Corps, is an observation-utility, three-passenger Sikorsky-made craft. HistBr, G-3
Div, HQMC, Marine Corps Aircraft, 1913-1965, Marine Corps Historical Reference
Pamphlet (Washington: 1967 ed.) pp. 34, 38.
50 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, pp. 10-2, 10-108. This record was established despite the
fact that the Marine squadron, with 10 jets, flying out of K-3 (Pohang) was more than
150 miles further from most targets than the other major photo unit, the 15th Tactical
Reconnaissance Squadron of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, based at K-14
Operations in West Korea Begin
ment in aerial photography in the Korean War." 57 since the Banshee
could outproduce any photo plane in Korea.
The month of April also marked change of command ceremonies
for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. On 11 April at K-3, General
Schilt turned over wing responsibility to Brigadier General Clayton
C Jerome. Among the numerous civilian and military dignitaries
attending the ceremony at the Pohang 1st MAW headquarters were
the Honorable John J. Muccio, U.S. Ambassador to Korea; Air Force
Lieutenant Generals Otto P. Weyland and Frank F. Everest, com-
manders of FEAF and FAF respectively; and the Marine division CG,
Major General Selden.
The new wing commander, General Jerome, like his predecessor,
had a distinguished flight career. A 1922 graduate of the Naval
Academy, he had served in various foreign and U.S. aviation billets
and was a veteran of five World War II campaigns. In 1943 Colonel
Jerome was operations officer for Commander, Aircraft, Solomon
Islands. Later he was named Chief of Staff, Commander, Aircraft,
Northern Solomons and Commander, Aircraft and Island Com-
mander, Emirau, in the northern Solomons. Before returning to the
States, Colonel Jerome had participated in the recapture of the
Philippines, commanding MAG-32 and directing all Marine air sup-
port in the Luzon fighting. Brigadier General Jerome became Direc-
tor of Aviation and Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps for
Air in September 1950 and served in this capacity until taking com-
mand of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Korea. 58
During the command ceremonies the outgoing 1st MAW com-
mander, General Schilt, was presented the Distinguished Service
Medal for his outstanding leadership of the wing. The award was
made by Lieutenant General Weyland. Shortly before his Korean
tour ended, General Schilt had also received from ROK President
Syngman Rhee the Order of Military Merit Taiguk, for his contribu-
tion to the military defense of South Korea.
67 Ibid., p. 10-59.
08 DivJn/o, HQMC, Biography of LtGen Clayton C. Jerome, Jul 58, rev.
Operations in West Korea
Supporting the Division and the Wing 59
Because of the command relationships existing in Korea, with all
ground units under operational control of CG, eusak, the majority
of the logistical support to the Marines was handled by the Army.
Eighth Army, 2d Logistical Command (2d LogCom) provided for
resupply of items used commonly by both Marine and Army person-
nel; the Marine Corps (Commanding General, FMFPac) furnished
those supplies and equipment used by Marine units only.
When the division moved to the west, the 1st Shore Party Battalion
opened a rear service area at Ascom City. Here the division estab-
lished and maintained Class II (organizational equipment) and IV
(special equipment) dumps for its units, as well as Class I (rations)
and III (petroleum products) facilities for both the Kimpo regiment
and the service units stationed at Ascom. Class I shipments were
forwarded to the Munsan-ni railhead and stored there. Fuels and
lubricants and Class V items (ordnance) were received from the U.S.
Army. A forward ammunition supply point (ASP) was located north
of the Imjin to assure a steady flow of ammunition to frontline com-
bat units in the event that either an enemy attack or emergency
flooding conditions of the river prevented use of the bridges. For the
same reason a truck company was positioned near this supply point
Reinforcing the division logistic effort was the 1st Combat Service
Group. Commanded by Colonel Russell N. Jordahl, the 1st CSG in
late April had nearly 1,400 Marines and Navy medical personnel
stationed at various points between Japan and Korea. At Kobe, Japan,
the Support Company processed Marine drafts arriving and depart-
ing Korea. At Masan, the Supply Company, 1st CSG, requisitioned
for the division those Class II and IV items peculiar to the Marine
Corps needs and forwarded them upon request. Heavy maintenance
of all technical equipment was performed by the Maintenance Com-
pany. Supporting the 1st Motor Transport Battalion operation was
the Motor Transport Company, 1st CSG. Most of the group, includ-
ing Headquarters Company, was based at Masan. 00 Splinter detach-
50 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFli EvalRpt
No. 4, Chaps. 9, 10; IstMarDiv, 1st MAW, 1st CSG, llthMar, 1st TkBn ComdDs,
Mar-Apr 52; 1st CSG UnitRpts, Apr 52.
1,0 The Support Company moved to Ascom City on 14 Jun 52.
Operations in West Korea Begin
ments from the group also operated transport facilities at other
locations in Korea.
In western Korea, good rail transport into Munsan-ni and an ade-
quate but not all-weather road system improved the division's logisti-
cal situation. Greater storage facilities also existed in the Jamestown
rear supply areas than in the X Corps sector just vacated by the
Marines. Division motor equipment did not surfer any appreciable
damage due to the rigors of the mixm ASTER transplacement. Vehicle
maintenance also presented a favorable outlook, due to the expected
decreased use during the period of positional warfare. On the other
hand, an unduly large number of tanks developed engine troubles
in March, which were traced back to defective oil cooling fans. This
condition was corrected in April and May by installation of new
Guns of the 1st Tank Battalion immediately began to render
valuable support to Marine frontline regiments with the division's
new assignment in the west. Companies A, B, and C were placed
in direct support of the three forward infantry regiments. Company
D drew the reserve mission, which included tank-infantry training
with the 7th Marines and preparation for reinforcing division artil-
lery fires. Tank companies were used almost daily in the forward
sectors for destruction by direct fire of the Chinese MLR fortifica-
tions. For such missions the M— 46 tanks, equipped with high-velocity
90mm guns, lumbered forward from secure assembly areas to the
rear of jamestown to temporary firing positions on the line.
After pouring direct fire on preselected targets and completion of
the fire mission, the armored vehicles then returned to the rear. Less
frequently, a five-vehicle tank platoon accompanied a reinforced
rifle platoon and conducted daylight reconnaissance missions of for-
ward areas to engage the Chinese and to gain intelligence about
enemy positions and terrain. During April six such tank-infantry pa-
trols, all in the KMC regimental area, failed to establish direct con-
tact with the enemy but did draw mortar and artillery fire.
Marine artillery, which had been receiving its share of attention
from Communist field guns, 01 was faced by problems in two other
01 One artillery weapon, in particular, as well as the Marine tanks habitually drew
the fury of Chinese counter-fire. The heavy destructive power of the U.S. Army 8-inch,
self-propelled howitzers firing on tough Chinese defensive positions, generally brought
down on their own emplacements a rain of enemy shells, so sensitive were enemy
commanders to these hard-hitting weapons. Pala comments.
Operations in West Korea
respects. Although the enemy held only four more artillery weapons
than did the Marines, General Selden still lacked the ability to mass
artillery fires to the same degree as did the Chinese. 02 This limita-
tion stemmed directly from the wide physical separation of 11th
Marines batteries and the frontline infantry regiments being sup-
ported. A second problem, the loss of qualified forward observers —
reserve officers due to return to the States for release from active
service — forced the 11th Marines to begin a school to train infantry
officers for this function. To make the course realistic, all firing was
done at live targets. 03
In April 1952, the 11th Marines organization had three light
105mm howitzer battalions (54 guns), one medium 155mm howitzer
battalion (12 guns), the KMC 105mm howitzer battalion (18
pieces), and a 4.5-inch rocket battery (6 launchers). Attached to the
1st Marine Division and located in its sector were one battalion and
one battery of the I Corps field artillery. The mission of the Marine
artillery regiment was to provide accurate and timely fires in sup-
port of both the MLR and OPLR defenses, until withdrawal of the
latter late in April. Batteries of the 11th Marines also fired on
known and suspected Chinese gun emplacements and on targets
of opportunity. The regiment also provided intelligence on enemy
Throughout April, Colonel Henderson's units continued to improve
their tactical and administrative areas, concentrating on field fortifi-
cations, wire communications, and road trafficability. In the last cate-
gory, the artillery dozers and dump trucks not only did nearly all of
this work for the 11th Marines but also provided "a fair amount
of 'direct support' bulldozing to the infantry regiments and occa-
sionally loaned dozers and operators to the engineers." 64
Within a Marine aircraft wing, personnel and equipment for logis-
tic support are purposely limited to carrying out the wing primary
mission — providing air support during an amphibious operation. The
wing T/O (Table of Organization) provides a streamlined organiza-
tion with light, transportable organic equipment. Additional logisti-
cal support personnel and equipment are not included since this
would result in (l) a duplication of support effort between the wing
02 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, Chap. 9, p. 9-39.
03 BGen Frederick P. Henderson ltr to CMC, dtd 6 Sep 66, hereafter Henderson Itr 11.
Operations in West Korea Begin
and landing force and (2) a great increase in wing transport snip-
ing requirements. When the wing moves ashore, organic units render
support necessary for operations on the airfield only. Responsibility
for activities beyond this basic mission — airfield construction, main-
tenance of runways, and movement of supplies to the airfield — must
come from more senior commands. Usually such assistance is ob-
tained by attaching elements of a naval construction battalion and
other logistical support units.
In April 1952, Naval Construction Battalion Unit 1804 assisted in
the construction and maintenance received by MAG-33 at K-3. Here
at the port of Pohang, a detachment from the 1st Combat Service
Group controlled the movement of fuels, oils, lubricants, and ord-
nance to wing dumps. Amphibian tractors (LVTs) of Company B,
1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, provided most of the transpor-
tation required for these supplies excepting ordnance. Assistance
in the form of amphibious trucks (DUKWs) was furnished by a
platoon from the 1st Amphibian Truck Company. When required,
Marines of these two companies manhandled the supplies.
Logistical support for the Marine wing was governed by the same
general procedures that applied to the division; 1st MAW supply
requirements beyond its augmented capability became the responsi-
bility of Eighth Army (2d LogCom) which furnished items common
to both Marine and Army units. If this eusak agency did not stock
the requisitioned item, it provided a substitute. Responsibility for
resupply of aviation items rested with the U.S. Navy. Commander,
Naval Forces, Far East (ComNavFE) replaced unserviceable avia-
tion technical equipment such as aircraft parts and special main-
tenance tools. Commander, Service Force, Pacific (ComServPac)
replenished aviation ordnance. Responsibility for supplying items
peculiar to the Marine Corps rested with CG, FMFPac.
The repair and maintenance of 1st MAW equipment posed far less
of a problem than the construction and upkeep of airfields. Major
repair work on aircraft was satisfactorily performed in Japan by the
wing support squadron at Itami, and by the U.S. Navy Fleet Air
Service Squadron 11 (FASRon-ll), located at the Naval Air Station,
Atsugi. The establishment in Japan of the wing heavy maintenance
facility depended, in part, upon its proximity to the wing flying
squadrons. Other considerations were the availability to the wing
commander of adequate air transport for continuous resupply of both
Operations in West Korea
routine and emergency items and reliable communications between
the users and the maintenance unit. Because these conditions favoring
removal of the heavy maintenance facility from the immediate com-
bat area existed throughout Korean hostilities, it was possible for the
maintenance units to operate successfully in Japan away from the
Air base construction and maintenance of airfield runways and
taxiways had plagued wing operations since the early days of the
Korean War. During the first winter these problems had appeared
repeatedly at those installations where Marine air was either not
properly supported or insufficiently augmented by the operational
commander. Shortly after MAG-33 had moved to K-3 in early 1951,
the wing commander requested emergency repairs for the runway
and a permanent solution to the airfield maintenance difficulties.
Assistance was made available, but it was insufficient. The repair
force had to be augmented by Marines pulled away from their own
vital jobs and by native laborers. Later, in the spring of 1952, when
the Air Force assigned some of its engineers to assist, the maintenance
problem almost disappeared.
Motor transport within the wing was a continuing source of
logistical problems. Vehicles for handling the heavier aviation ord-
nance were unsatisfactory because their configuration, of World War
II vintage, did not permit them to service the newer aircraft. Other
trucks lacked engine power or rigidity to withstand sustained use
under primitive airfield conditions. World War II vehicles that had
been preserved and placed in open storage required reconditioning
before their use in Korea. Mechanics' general and special tools had
a high replacement rate throughout the entire period of wing opera-
tions in Korea.
Aircraft fuel handling in April 1952 followed outmoded World
War II methods. For K-3, amphibian vehicles received drummed fuel
from ships and landed it at the beach. There MAG-33 personnel
transferred the gasoline to 1,200-gallon fuel trucks, which then moved
it to the airfield servicing area, where other Marines transferred it
again, this time to 3,200-gallon stationary refuelers for dispensing
into the aircraft. Although this method became highly developed, it
was extremely slow and wasteful of manpower and vehicles in com-
parison to the tank farm system, which was soon to reach K-3.
Two areas of logistics continued to remain almost trouble free for
Operations in West Korea Begin
division and wing Marines. Medical problems existed but were not
extensive. During a five-day period in late March, Marine Air Control
Group 2 experienced 13 cases of scarlet fever but no fatalities. That
same month, the Pacific Fleet Medical Officer noted that MAG-12
sick bays were in excellent condition and that medical "personnel
have shown great ingenuity in fabricating various items of medical
equipment from scrap metal and lumber." 05
Evacuation of casualties and the utilization of air vehicles for
transport of passengers and cargo proved to be the second asset in
logistical operations. The Itami-based detachment of VMR-152
moved 7,757 personnel from the division and wing and 738.7 tons
of cargo during April 1952. In addition, the R5D craft hauled a total
of 325.2 tons of U.S. mail that month for the two Marine organiza-
tions. Speedy removal of patients to better equipped facilities in the
rear by VMO-6 and HMR-161 helicopters was a giant step forward
in life-saving techniques. VMO-6 usually provided this service, but
early in April, Colonel McCutcheon's squadron was assigned emer-
gency medical evacuation duties to augment the observation squad-
ron. 00 Pilots flew these evacuation missions with almost total disregard
for adverse weather or darkness, and without radar control or ade-
quate instrumentation for all-weather operations. 07
Different Area, Different Problem 08
An additional responsibility the 1st Marine Division inherited when
it moved to western Korea was control of civilians wthin the division
boundary. In eastern Korea, all nonmilitary personnel had been evac-
uated from the vicinity of the Minnesota Line in the division sector;
they had not been removed from the jamestown area. Prior to the
PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, Chap. 12, p. 12-8. The medical officer's report to CinCPac
noted that a vast improvement "in the spaces allocated for the care of the sick and
wounded" had been made.
°" PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 10-69, p. 10-73.
1,7 Ibid., p. 10-68. Flights were not made in heavy fog. Test use by the Marine Corps
Equipment Board of some of the equipment needed to navigate under conditions of
reduced visibility was nearing the end of its development cycle.
" s Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: CG, IstMarDiv
Itr to CMC, dtd 23 Jul 53, Subj: Type "C" Rpt: "Civilian Affairs and the Korean
Service Corps, Mar 52-May 53," hereafter CG, IstMarDiv ltr, Civ Afrs and KSC;
IstMarDiv ConidDs, Mar-Apr 52; HqBn, IstMarDiv ComdDs, Mar-Apr 52.
Operations in West Korea
arrival of the division in the west, the stayback Line, averaging
seven miles to the rear of the Imjin River and running in a generally
northeast-southwest direction, had been established to limit the move-
ment of civilian personnel in the forward areas. The Marines soon
found that their predecessors must have been lax, however, in requir-
ing that Korean civilians remain behind stayback. What seemed
equally unsuitable to the division was the poor military-civilian
relationship that had apparently existed for some time.
To correct the situation, General Selden cautioned his units to
avoid unnecessary damage or destruction to the civilian economy. He
directed his commanding officers to keep unauthorized Koreans away
from Marine installations. Military police set up check points and
instituted roving patrols to enforce division controls. Civil violators
were turned over to Korean authorities or held for investigation
before release. Civilians who lived in the forward areas were removed
to the rear. They were prevented from going beyond stayback until
August 1952, when a controlled passage system was instituted.
Defending the Line
UN Command Activities — Defense of West and East Coast
Korean Islands — Marine Air Operations — Spring 1952 on
Jamestown — End of the Second Year of War — A Long Fourth
of July — Changes in the Lineup — Replacement and Rotation
— Logistical Operations, Summer 1952
UN Command Activities 1
Movement OF the 1st Marine Division to the west was part of
an Eighth Army master plan to strengthen UN defenses and
at the same time to enable South Korean forces to assume increased
responsibility in the defense of their homeland. The tactical realign-
ment in the spring of 1952 put more South Korean infantry units on
the main line of resistance and buttressed the fighting front with five
corps sectors instead of four. In the far west, the I Corps positions
were newly manned (left to right) by the 1st Marine, 1st Common-
wealth, 1st ROK, and the U.S. 45th Infantry Divisions. Next in line
was IX Corps, whose left boundary General Van Fleet 2 had shifted
further west, which now had a divisional line up of the ROK 9th on
the left, the U.S. 7th in the center, and the U.S. 40th on the right.
1 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: Cdr Malcolm
W. Cagle, USN and Cdr Frank A. Manson, USN, The Sea War in Korea (Annapolis,
Md.: U.S. Naval Institute, 1957), hereafter Cagle and Manson, Sea War, Korea; James
A. Field, Jr., History of United States Naval Operations, Korea (Washington: [Div.
of Naval Hist], 1962), hereafter Field, NavOps, Korea; John Miller, Jr., Maj Owen
J. Carroll, USA, and Margaret E. Tacldey, Korea, 1951-1953 (Washington: OCMH,
DA, 1958), hereafter Miller, Carroll, and Tacldey, Korea, 1951-1953.
2 General Van Fleet, CG, EUSAK since April 1951, had advocated a program in
which South Korean troops would be rigorously trained to take over an increasingly
greater part of the UNC defense efforts in Korea. See Mark W. Clark, From the
Danube to the Yalu (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954), p. 185, hereafter Clark,
Danube to Yalu, quoted with permission of the publishers.
Operations in West Korea
To fill in the central part of the EUSAK front where the change of
IX Corps boundary had created a gap in the line, the UN commander
inserted the ROK II Corps with three divisions (ROK 6th, ROK
Capital, and ROK 3d) forward. Immediately to the right of this
new ROK corps sector, the X Corps continued in approximately its
same position on the east-central front. Its ROK 7th and U.S. 25th
Divisions remained on line, while the ROK 8th had advanced to the
former sector of the Marine division in the wild Punchbowl country.
At the far right of the UN line, the ROK I Corps front was held by
the ROK 11th Division at the X Corps boundary and the ROK 5th
along the Sea of Japan. By 1 May 1952, nine Republic of Korea
divisions had been emplaced on the UNC main defense line, three
more than had been there in mid-March.
Throughout Korea in March and April there had been a general
stagnation of offensive action on both sides because of fog, rain, and
mud. In May, however, the Chinese launched no less than 30 probing
attacks against the ROK 1st Division in the I Corps sector, without
gaining any significant advantage. To the right, the enemy and the
U.S. 45th Division traded blows in several patrol actions. In June,
major EUSAK combat action was still centered in the 45th's sector,
but the following month was marked by sharp battlefront clashes in
nearly all Eighth Army division areas. For a two-week period in
July and August, heavy seasonal rains limited both ground and air
action. With the return of normal weather, heavy fighting again
broke out, this time concentrated in the I Corps sector. This action
did not abate until late August, when the onset of the heaviest rains
of the season again drastically reduced military operations.
Communist ground activity in the spring of 1952 was marked by
increased artillery support which resulted in telling damage to UN
infantry and artillery positions. Thus, during May, the enemy ex-
pended approximately 102,000 artillery and mortar rounds against
the Allied front, roughly 12 times the number fired the previous July,
just prior to the period of stabilized battlelines in Korea. The artillery
buildup was accompanied by a sharp decrease in hostile air support
activities. While the Chinese had flown 3,700 jet sorties during the
first month of 1952, by June the monthly total had dropped to 308.
As part of the balanced military forces, Allied air and sea units
continued their active defense in support of UN ground units. Be-
ginning in late May, Fifth Air Force shifted the emphasis of its
Defending the Line
destructive effort from interdiction of communication routes to the
bombing of selected industrial targets. Naval air was committed to
support the FAF programs. At sea, ships steamed almost at will to
sustain the U.S. lifeline. Underscoring the complete UN control of
Korean waters, large naval vessels offshore fired their big guns in
support of ground troops. Off both the west and east coasts, Task
Force (TF) 95 maintained its blockade of North Korean ports and
reduced the extent of water travel that enemy craft could safely
undertake. This same naval force was responsible for the Allied
defense of islands located off the east and west coasts of Korea.
Defense of West and East Coast Korean Islands' 6
Just off the northwest Korean mainland a string of islands extends
from the mouth of the Yalu River down around the peninsula to
Pusan in the southeast. Most of these islands are tiny and are located
south of the 38th Parallel. Only a few lie off the east coast, and these
are clustered primarily in the North Korean harbor of Wonsan. By
early 1951, UN forces exercised control over most of the Korean
islands. Their tactical importance is shown from their diverse use as
sites for UN Command intelligence activities, USAF radar installa-
tions, locations for the emergency landing strips used by Allied
planes, bases for U.S. search and rescue operations, and as spring-
boards for possible thrusts into enemy rear areas. 4
Another reason for holding some of the islands had come to light
during truce negotiations in December 1951. At that time, in an
attempt to expedite the successful conclusion of the truce meetings,
UN representatives had offered the Communists all the islands north
of the 38th Parallel. Brushing aside the tactical value of the pro-
posal, the enemy boasted that he could capture the islands at any
3 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpts
No. 4, Chap. 9; No. 5, Chap. 8; West Coast Island Defense Element ComdDs, Feb-
Oct 52, hereafter WCIDE ComdD, with date; East Coast Island Defense ComdDs,
Jan-Oct 52, hereafter ECIDE ComdD, with date; Col William K. Davenport Itr to
CMC, dtd 27 Jun 52, Subj: Type D Report of duty as Commander West Coast Island
Defense Element (CTE 95.15); Cagle and Manson, Sea War, Korea; Field, NavOps,
4 Evidence of Chinese concern about such rear area attacks is apparent in the coun-
termeasures taken: "Order of Battle reports indicated that a total of three North Ko-
rean Corps and three Chinese Communist Armies were engaged in coastal defense
operations on the east and west coasts of North Korea." PacFlt EvalRpt, No. 5, p. 8-79.
WEST COAST ISLAND
Defending the Line
time. In November 1951 the Communists had, in fact, seized two
western islands near the mouth of the Yalu. The 1,000 defending
guerrillas there — former North Koreans working for the UNC —
had been unable to stem the assault. The UN Command promptly
reviewed the island situation and on 6 January 1952 gave TF 95,
the United Nations Blockading and Escort Force, responsibility for
both overall defense and local ground defense for the 11 coastal
islands north of the 38th Parallel and the 4 islands immediately south
of this boundary. Two subordinate blockade task groups, one in the
west and another in the east, were responsible for the defense of
In the west, Task Group (TG) 95.1 was charged with the defense
of six islands. (See Map 6.) Two of these, Sok-to and Cho-do, lie
between the 38th and 39th Parallels; the four remaining islands,
Paengyong-do, Taechong-do, Yongpyong-do, and Tokchok-to, are
above the 37th Parallel. In the east, TG 95.2 was responsible for
keeping nine islands north of the 38th Parallel in friendly hands. Sit-
uated in Wonsan harbor are Mo-do, Sin-do, So-do, Tae-do, Hwangto-
do, Ung-do, and Yo-do, the largest. (See Map 7.) Another island,
Yang-do, actually a two-island group further north in the area of
the 4lst Parallel, is 18 miles northeast of the coastal city of Songjin.
The southernmost island, tiny Nan-do, is below Wonsan and the
39th Parallel and lies 10 miles northeast of Kojo, another coastal city.
Ground defense of the islands had been, at best, a haphazard
arrangement before TF 95 took over the responsibility. Many of the
islands, especially those inhabited by friendly guerrillas, had neither
plans for a proper defense nor commanders experienced in organ-
izing resistance to enemy attack. Soon after the two islands near the
mouth of the Yalu were taken, ROK Marines were rushed to those
islands considered most strategic for South Korean defense. Late in
1951, U.S. Marines had been assigned to the area in an advisory
capacity. By early 1952, Marine Corps detachments were in command
of the island defense activities for both task groups. Korean Marines
provided a majority of the actual defending forces.
Although the 1st Marine Division initially had supplied the officers
and men for the island security missions, in January 1952 FMFPac
took on direct responsibility for furnishing personnel and providing
for their administrative and logistical support through the 1st Pro-
visional Casual Company, FMFPac. Located at Otsu, Japan, the
Operations in West Korea
company was the administrative headquarters for seriously wounded
Marine division and wing personnel recuperating in service hospitals
in Japan. Recovered patients who volunteered for duty with the
offshore commands provided the bulk of the Marines used in this
defense. Major responsibilities were to plan, organize, and conduct
the defense of these islands off the Korean west and east coasts.
A task element under each task group was created for this purpose.
With its headquarters at Paengyang-do, Task Element (TE) 95.15,
the West Coast Island Defense Element (WCIDE), was organized
early in January 1952. The following month, the initial complement
of U.S. Marines arrived. Colonel William K. Davenport, Jr., element
commander, assigned his 5 officers and 29 enlisted men to the 4 most
critical islands and to his staff. Those islands garrisoned were Cho-do
and Sok-to, north of the Parallel and both within range of enemy
mainland guns, and Paengyang-do and Yongpyong-do, to the south.
Taechong-do, near the command island, and Tokchok-to, southwest
of Inchon, were both considered secure and not provided with U.S.
Marine commanders. At each of the four occupied islands, Marines
reconnoitered the terrain, drew up plans for preparation of defensive
positions, organized and trained the troops available, and began the
laborious task of constructing the defense. Protection against long-
range hostile artillery fire was emphasized for the northern Sok-to
and Cho-do garrisons.
Off the other long coast of Korea, TE 95.23, the East Coast Island
Defense Element (ECIDE), commanded until early May 1952 by
Colonel Frank M. Reinecke, had an almost entirely different situ-
ation. Eight of the nine islands in the vicinity of Wonsan Harbor or
north of Songjin that ECIDE was responsible for were within range
of Communist shore batteries and thus frequently fired upon. Even
before the January 1952 decision, the U.S. Navy had been charged
with the security of these east coast islands north of the 38th Parallel.
For these reasons ECIDE defenses had to maintain a greater state
of readiness and were more advanced than in the west. Fire support
ships and land based U.S. Marine naval gunfire spotting teams from
1st ANGLICO (Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company), FMF,
which also provided forward air controllers for the KMC regiment,
stood by at all times to siience unfriendly artillery fire emanating
from the mainland. The Marines had also trained Korean Marines
to handle the spotting missions.
Operations in West Korea
A number of events of major interest occurred during those first
difficult weeks following organization of the two offshore island
commands. On 19 and 20 February, elements of two North Korean
infantry battalions launched an unsuccessful assault against the two
Yang-do islands. The combined "action of the island garrison and
UN surface forces" 5 repulsed the enemy attempt, which had been
planned to gain intelligence and kill as many of the defenders as
possible. On the heels of this action, with the first enemy effort to
take an east coast island, came an unexpected bonus in the form of
a defector. Brigadier General Lee II, nkpa, came ashore on 21
February at Tae-do "in a stolen sampan with a briefcase full of top
secret papers, a head full of top secret plans, and a strong desire
to make himself useful." 7 He was rushed immediately to Eighth
Army intelligence officers.
The next day command personnel of the west coast TE 95.15 were
treated to a surprise, though not so pleasant as the unforeseen de-
fection of the nkpa general. Rear Admiral George C. Dyer, Com-
mander Task Force (CTF) 95, and his staff were engaged in an
inspection of the WCIDE islands. While the party was looking over
the antiaircraft defenses at Paengyong-do:
... an aircraft of VMA-312 made a pass at the CP, followed closely
by a second plane. The second aircraft made a message drop and accident-
ally released a 500-pound bomb, which landed from 75-100 feet west of
the CP, shattering all windows and blowing all the doors off their hinges.
Personnel harbored within the CP were thrown to the floor by the con-
cussion, a few sustaining minor cuts and bruises, but no fatalities were
incurred . . . Commanding Officer, USS Bairoko [the carrier to which
VMA-312 was assigned}, sent a note of apology to CTE 95.15 and later
followed up with material to repair the CP. 8
In March, CTG 95.1 directed the occupation of Ho-do, barely
more than a speck of dirt 4,000 yards south of Sok-to and within
400 yards of the Communist mainland. Despite Colonel Davenport's
objection that the proposed action was beyond the defensive mission
5 CinPac Weekly Intel Digest No. 23-52, dtd 6 lun 52, included as App. 17 to
PacFli EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-110.
First Lieutenant Joseph S. Bartos, Jr., a former AU-American football great, also
distinguished himself during the Yang-do action. His cool, resourceful, and valiant
leadership during the two-day defense earned him the Silver Star Medal. BGen Frank
M. Reinecke comments on draft MS, dtd 25 Aug 66.
7 Field, NavOps, Korea, p. 426.
5 CTE 95.15 ComdD, 1 Feb-31 May 52, p. 8.
Defending the Line
of his command and that the proximity of Ho-do to the enemy shore
made the island untenable, 9 the task group commander would not
rescind the directive. After a detailed reconnaissance by First Lieu-
tenant Wallace E. Jobusch, Colonel Davenport ordered a reinforced
Korean Marine Corps platoon to occupy the island. This order was
carried out, but during the night of 25-26 March the platoon lost its
newly gained objective to a well-coordinated enemy amphibious at-
tack. Not a single Korean Marine survivor could be accounted for
at daylight. On 2 April, however, after the enemy force had de-
parted Ho-do, six of the platoon turned up on Sok-to. They had
survived by hiding out at Ho-do. None of the others were ever seen
again. After the island was overrun, it was not reoccupied by Allied
After this latest offensive action in the west, the Communists
made no further attempts to seize any of the islands. U.S. and ROK
Marines enjoyed a period of relative freedom from enemy harass-
ment, except for frequent shore battery shelling directed against the
east coast islands. For WCIDE command members the quiet island
duty was interrupted only occasionally by hostile artillery fire although
rumors of imminent enemy landings abounded. On 13 October, how-
ever, the enemy bombed Cho-do in the first air attack made against
an island garrison since the U.S. Marines had been assigned the
west coast island command responsibility. No casualties resulted from
this raid. The lull in enemy activity that then ensued enabled island
personnel to devote increased efforts towards improvement of their
Marines instructed, drilled, and conducted tactical exercises for the
island forces. Island commanders supervised the construction and
improvement of gun pits and other defense installations. At the
ECIDE command island, Yo-do, a 2,700-foot airstrip (Briscoe Field)
for emergency landings and intelligence flights had been completed
by June. Since much of the labor was performed by Koreans, the
language barrier sometimes created difficulties. In all these activities
the Marines found that they were hampered but not unduly burdened
by this problem.
One condition, however, did handicap operations of the island
9 Colonel Davenport later pointed out that the enemy could easily employ high-
powered rifles against Ho-do occupants, that resupply posed problems to his command,
and that at times the enemy could even walk to Ho-do over the winter ice. Col William
K. Davenport ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 7 Sep 66.
Operations in West Korea
Marines. This was the supply situation which was prevented from
becoming desperate only because the Marines were able to borrow
and obtain necessities from other service activities. The inability of
the island Marines to draw needed supplies from the responsible
U.S. Army agency developed as a result of the slowness of the
Marines in approving the task element tables of equipment (T/E), 10
and from insistence of the supplying activity that it would deal only
with those units that had approved tables of equipment. The urgency
of the situation was alleviated in May when weekly supply flights
were begun by the 1st MAW. Even when surface ships did arrive with
provisions, Marines frequently discovered that items which had been
invoiced were missing. 11 Consumables, especially, had a high rate of
Marine Air Operations 12
Close air support of ground troops remained an almost forgotten
mission of Fifth Air Force tactical aircraft. When planes were allotted
for close support, both their customary late arrival over the target
area and pilot inefficiency left Marine ground commanders less than
satisfied. 13 The particular concern of General Jerome, the new 1st
MAW commander, was the continuing limited opportunity for his
Marines to execute their normal primary mission — close air support
10 A T/E is a listing of equipment that a unit needs to accomplish its mission. Tables
vary according to type of unit and its mission.
11 Commenting on logistical matters, Colonel Kenneth A. King, who during 1952
commanded first the WCIDE and then 1st CSG, was of the opinion that the main dif-
ficulty lay "not in getting requisitions filled, but in getting delivery of what was ap-
proved" due to the fact Marines were not assigned to processing of requisitions and
delivery of supplies. He had high praise for the concern and assistance of 1st MAW
units as well as Captain G. L. G. Evans (RN) of HMS Ocean and various other
United Kingdom ship captains. Colonel King further commented that "for the benefit
of Marines who may have to serve in isolated areas, and I imagine this often prevails
in Vietnam today, it cannot be emphasized too strongly that the Marine Corps should
be very reluctant to leave the support of any of its elements, no matter how small, to
other services or nationalities." Col Kenneth A. King ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div,
HQMC, dtd 24 Aug 66.
'-Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section has been derived from:
PacFlt EvalRpts No. 4, Chap. 10; No. 5, Chap. 9; 1st MAW ComdDs, May-Aug 52;
MAG-12 ComdDs, Jun, Aug 52; Robert F. Futrell. The United States Air Force in
Korea, 1950-1953 (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1961), hereafter Futrell,
13 1st MAW ComdD, Feb 52, quoted in PacFlt EvalRpl No. 4, p. 10-45.
Defending the Line
of frontline troops. Although FAF assigned Marine pilots to support
the 1st Marine Division whenever possible, the infrequent number
of close air support missions performed under the existing sortie
limit was beginning to detract from the quality of delivery. General
Jerome set out to remedy this unfavorable situation.
Working with General Selden, the Marine wing commander pre-
vailed upon the Air Force to permit close air support training of
wing pilots and of forward air controllers with the Marine division.
On 19 May, CG, FAF lifted the close air support restriction that he
had imposed in front of General Selden's MLR. By agreement be-
tween the FAF and the two Marine commanders, Fifth Air Force
would permit the scheduling of 12 close air support sorties daily for
a one-month period, MAG-12 was given this training mission, to
begin on 21 May. 14
The objective of the CAS program, in addition to providing
operational training and practice for Marine ground officers, air con-
trollers, and pilots, was to inflict maximum casualties on Chinese
troops and to increase the destruction and damage to their positions.
Before assigning a pilot to the actual training flights, MAG-12 sent
him on a tour of the front lines to become better familiarized with
the topography, the restricted ("no-fly") areas, and probable enemy
targets. Air strikes requested by the division went directly to MAG-
12. Initially, a limitation of 12 sorties per day was established, but on
17 July — the program having already been extended beyond its
original 30-day limit — a new ceiling of 20 daily sorties went into
effect. The division was also allowed additional flights above this
prescribed daily sortie number when air support was needed to repel
a large-scale enemy attack or to assist in a major Marine ground
Almost as soon as the Marines began to derive the benefit of the
training program, the flights were terminated by FAF. On 3 August
14 Two months earlier, FAF had begun "a program for training pilots in close air
support techniques. . . . Initially, all training missions for this division were flown by
Air Force aircraft." The flights, not in response to specific requests, were assigned by
the G-3, I Corps. CG, IstMarDiv Itr to CG, FMFPac dtd 23 May 52, Subj: CAS sum
for pd 1 Jan-30 Apr 52, cited in PacFlt EvalRpl No. 4, p. 10-196. These flights
ceased just before the ones from MAG-12 began. 1st MarDiv ComdD, May 53, p. 4. A
1st MarDiv staff officer, who had observed the frequency of General Jerome's visits to
the division CP to discuss the new close air support training program, has credited the
two Marine CGs for their "great amount of coordinated personal aggressiveness in
bringing this about." Col Robert A. McGill comments on draft MS, Sep 66, hereafter
Operations in West Korea
1952, following a complaint by CG, Eighth Army that Marines were
Fifth Air Force notified General Jerome that the special program
getting a disproportionate share of the close air support sorties, the
would end the next day. General Selden was instructed to request
air support "in the same manner as other divisions on the Army
front." 15 Despite the abrupt termination of the training program,
the division had derived substantial benefits from the 12 weeks of
Marine-type close air support. "Air attacks were the most useful
weapon for dealing with enemy dug-in on the reverse slopes," 10
according to an official analysis. One regimental commander reported
that the 1,000-pound bombs were effective in destroying enemy
bunkers and further noted that the strikes had produced good results
in the "destruction or damaging of enemy artillery and mortar
pieces." 17 Another senior officer commented that air overhead kept
the Communists "buttoned up," which permitted Marines greater
freedom of movement for tactical and logistical operations. 18
A second type of Marine close air support aided the mission of
Marine infantrymen in western Korea during the summer of 1952.
This was controlled radar bombing, which permitted delivery of
aviation ordnance at night or under other conditions of limited or
poor visibility. The Air Force had introduced the concept into Korea
in January 1951, had tested and evaluated it in combat, and shortly
thereafter had put it to good use against the Communist spring
offensives that year. Based on a concept oriented towards deep sup-
port of troops in extended land campaigns, the Air Force system
made use of 20-ton vans to house its ground components. 10
The Marine equipment, on the other hand, was more mobile since
it was to be employed close to friendly lines. Referred to as the
MPQ-14, 20 the Marine radar bombing system was designed so that
15 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, p. 8-54.
10 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-36.
17 1st MarDiv ComdD, Jun 52, p. 2.
Col Russell E. Honsowetz Itr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 14 Sep 66.
10 As an Air Force spokesman noted, ". . . the AN/MPQ-2 radars introduced into
Korea in January 1951 were Strategic Air Command bomb scoring radars and not tac-
tical equipment. This would explain the large vans." Robert C. Futrell, Historian, Hist
Studies Br USAF Hist Div, comments on draft MS, dtd 120ct66. Dr. Futrell authored
the definitive unclassified history of Air Force operations in Korea, previously cited as
20 These letters indicate first, the type of installation; next, the kind of electronic
equipment; and finally, its purpose. In this case, M-mobile''ground installation, P-radar,
and Q-intended for a combination of purposes. The figure indicates the model number
in the developmental history of the equipment.
Defending the Line
the largest piece could be put into a one-ton trailer. Major ground
items were a generator power supply, a tracking radar, and a com-
puter; the last essential component, an automatic bombing control,
was mounted in the aircraft.
Developed and hand built after World War II by Marines under
Major Marion C. Dalby at the Naval Air Materiel Test Center,
Point Mugu, California, the MPQ-14 was first used in Korea in
September 1951. Initially, considerable mechanical difficulty was
experienced with radar bombing, which affected the accuracy of the
bombs, but later the system became sufficiently reliable to permit
bomb drops within one mile of friendly lines. Subsequent use con-
firmed the tactical precision of the MPQ-14. By the middle of summer
1952, the Marines had obtained Fifth Air Force permission to use
radar bombing, controlled by a forward observer on the ground, in
a close support role.
Before this policy change took place another one, at a still higher
command level, had occurred. On 23 June, FAF planes struck at
eight North Korean hydroelectric plants in the central and north-
western part of the country. The attack represented a departure from
the intense interdiction of enemy lines of communication (Operation
STRANGLE) which, since May 1951, had characterized FAF support
operations. The shift came about after a Far East Air Forces study
on the effectiveness of the interdiction campaign had concluded, in
part, that the program had been indecisive. 21
For more than a year preceding the 23 June attack, the Fifth Air
Force had concentrated its ground support efforts on the disruption
of Communist communication lines so that the enemy would be
unable "to contain a determined offensive ... or to mount a sus-
tained offensive himself." 22 During the lifetime of the doctrine, no
major offensive had been launched by the enemy, and on this fact
was based the claim for success of the interdiction program.
Opponents, however, pointed out that despite this maximum FAF
air effort, the Communists had built up their strength, including
support areas immediately to the rear of their front lines and
resupply installations. As the recent UN commander, General
21 HistDiv; Air Univ, USAF, United States Air Force Operations in the Korean
Conflict, 1 November 1950-30 June 1222,'VSAB Hist Study No. 72 (Washington,
1955), : -p. 159, hereafter USAF; Ops in Korea, with appropriate number. The Air
Force' operations were published in three books, numbered 72, 73, and 127.
22 Futrell, USAF, Korea, pp. 435-436.
Operations in West Korea
Matthew B. Ridgway, 23 told members of the Senate Committee on
Armed Services on 21 May 1952, the same month that FAF had
begun to shift its air effort away from interdiction, "I think that the
hostile forces opposing the Eighth Army . . . have a substantially
greater offensive potential than at any time in the past. . . ." 2i
A number of factors contributed to the reduced emphasis on the
interdiction strategy. Three, however, appear to have most influenced
the inauguration of Operation PRESSURE, the name given the new
policy of concentrating aerial attacks on major industrial targets
considered of greatest value to the North Korean economy. Mount-
ing FAF aircraft losses due to enemy flak (fire from ground-based
antiaircraft weapons)*, and an insufficient number of replacements
helped shape the new pi^gram. By April 1952 feaf had received
"only 131 replacement aircraft of the types engaged in rail inter-
diction against the 243 it had lost and the 290 major-damaged air-
craft on interdiction sorties." 25 These heavy losses had resulted from
the increasing accuracy of Communist antiaircraft ground weapons,
a capability Air Force planners had failed to consider sufficiently. 20
Although significant, this loss factor was not the final considera-
tion in executing pressure attacks against the power plants. More
directly responsible were two other recent developments. These were
the decision of the new UN commander, General Mark W. Clark, to
take forceful action to bring the Communists around to an armistice
agreement and a top-level Defense Department change of policy that
had removed a major North Korean hydroelectric facility from the
restricted bombing list. This was the Suiho plant, fourth largest in
the world. Adjacent to the Yalu River, about 75 miles northeast of
its mouth, Suiho supplied approximately 25 percent of the electrical
power used in nearby northeast China. 27
Results of the pressure strikes, carried on from 23-27 June,
were highly successful. Marine, Navy, and Air Force planes flew
1,654 attack and escort sorties in these raids. Of the 13 target plants
attacked during this period, 11 were put out of commission and 2
23 General Mark W. Clark had succeeded Ridgway as UN Commander on 12 May
1952. Ridgway was to take over as the new Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, 1 June,
replacing General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was returning to the United
24 Cited in Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 435.
25 USAF, Ops in Korea, No. 72, p. 156.
26 Futrell, USAF, Korea, pp. 436-437.
27 Ibid., pp. 452^153 and Cagle and Manson, Sea War, Korea, pp. 443-445.
Defending the Line
others were presumably destroyed. North Korea was almost blacked
out for two weeks. Chinese and Russian experts were rushed to North
Korea to lend a hand in restoration. The hydroelectric strikes marked
the first time that Marine, Navy, and Air Force pilots had flown
a combined mission in Korea. The 23 June strike, moreover, was of
particular significance to 1st MAW since it was also the first time
that MAGs-12 and -33 were assigned group strikes at specific
adjacent targets at the same time.
Led by Colonel Robert E. Galer, the new MAG-12 commander
since 25 May, group pilots struck and leveled the single power com-
plex, Chosin 3, in the 23-24 June runs. Colonel John P. Condon,
who had taken over MAG-33 on 24 May, put 43 jets from VMFs-
311 and -115 into the air during the two-day mission. The first time
that its F9Fs had ever been massed for a strike of this type, the
MAG-33 jets similarly destroyed the Chosin 4 plant, 11 miles
northwest of Hamhung.
Although the jets carried a smaller payload than the Corsairs and
ADs of MAG-12 (approximately 37 gross tons to more than 150
tons), the extremely precise bombing record made by the Grumman
Panther jet pilots forever put to rest the doubts about jet accuracy
that had been held by some in 1st MAW. As the group commander
later recalled, "The capability of jet strike aircraft for extremely
accurate bombing, an item of open discussion prior to this time, was
never questioned in the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing after this mis-
sion." 28 Another gratifying result was that flight personnel on all of
the 150 Marine aircraft returned safely. In fact, of the total 1,645
FAF sorties, only 2 aircraft were downed; rescue aircraft successfully
picked up these two pilots, both U.S. Navy officers.
It was the high probability of being rescued, if forced to abandon
their aircraft, that not only eased the minds of pilots on missions
north of the 38th Parallel but also permitted the fliers a greater
degree of success. As the MAG-12 commander, Colonel Galer, who
was shortly to escape imminent capture by the enemy, later declared,
"I do know that every pilot flying in this theatre should have the
highest possible morale with the knowledge that so many are ready
and willing to risk so much to get them." 29
A Medal of Honor holder from World War II, Colonel Galer
MajGen John P. Condon ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 1 Oct 66.
MAG-12 ComdD, Aug 52, p. D-4.
Operations in West Korea
was leading a flight of 31 aircraft on 5 August. His objective was
the supply area and tungsten mines in the mountainous northeastern
part of North Korea, just below the 39th Parallel and 35 miles
southwest of Wonsan. After several hits had killed his engine, the
MAG-12 commander, preparing to parachute, climbed out over the
side of his plane, but found that he had one foot stuck inside the
cockpit, probably on the shoulder straps or the loop of the belt. He
then pulled himself partially back towards the cockpit, freed his
foot with a vigorous kick, cleared the plane, and headed in spread-
eagle fashion towards the ground. Almost immediately the plane,
falling in a nose dive, caught the descending pilot on the shoulder
and pulled him into a spin. Colonel Galer recovered in time, how-
ever, to pull the ripcord and thus ease his impact onto enemy terrain.
He landed within ten feet of his crashed AU. 80
"Immediately upon getting free of the chute, I ran as rapidly
as possible, staying low, down through a corn field." 31 At the end
of the field, the Marine aviator paused momentarily to survey the
terrain for an escape route. Spotting a dry stream bed nearby,
Colonel Galer dashed toward it and quickly but cautiously moved
up it some 100 yards. Then he halted to put into operation a small
survivor radio to report his position. The message was received by
the rescue air patrol orbiting overhead which relayed the information
to pickup aircraft. The patrol advised the downed pilot that a rescue
helicopter had already departed for the crash area.
Before breaking radio contact, Colonel Galer told the air patrol
his planned movements in order to facilitate pickup. He then quickly
left the area which was located too near the crashed aircraft for
a rescue attempt. Evading detection by enemy soldiers and curious
teenagers moving towards the wreckage, the Marine worked his way
to higher ground, keeping the air patrol advised of his changing
position. By 1845, a search of the area was underway. Of the events
that followed: Colonel Galer wrote:
At 1908 I heard the helicopter go down the next valley and saw it
disappear. I called, told them to make a 180-degree turn since I was in
the valley to the southwest and on the north slope. I did not get an
answer but soon the helicopter came through a saddle in the ridge. . . .
30 The AU is the attack version of the Marines' famed World War II fighter, the
• u MAG-12, ComdD, Aug 52, p. D-2.
Defending the Line
I immediately let the red smoke (day flare) go, and came out of the bushes
. . . calling the helicopter on the radio also. They apparently saw me im-
mediately and came over and hovered. The mechanic leaned out and swung
the hoisting sling back and forth. . . . Finally, I grabbed it and got in . . .
and the pilot took off. . . . The mechanic pulled me up and into the heli-
copter as we crossed the valley. 32
The colonel was not yet out of the woods. The trip to a rescue
ship at Wonsan was marked by intermittent bursts of enemy anti-
aircraft fire. On one occasion the chopper was hit hard enough to
spin it completely around. As the rescue craft neared the coast
patches of fog added to the ha2ards of night flying. About this time
the warning light indicating low fuel supply came on but "the pilot
gambled on making the sea at the risk of having to autorotate
through the overcast into the mountains." 33 It was a correct decision.
The fuel lasted until the helicopter landed on the rescue vessel. It
was then 2100.
Quite naturally the episode brought forth high praise for the
rescue system, and particularly for those individuals whose skills,
initiative, and courage made downed crew rescues of this type possi-
ble. But Colonel Galer also saw some weaknesses. He pointed out
that rescue helicopter pilots should be kept up to date on changing
enemy flak positions. The Marine group commander also stressed
the need for rescue helicopters to establish and maintain a minimum
safe fuel level which would depend largely upon the position of the
downed aircraft. One final suggestion, not about the system but the
aircraft itself, was that fixed-wing aircraft have ejection-type seats.
Remembering his own difficulties, the MAG-12 commander further
cautioned pilots to be certain they were free of all straps and cords
before bailing out.
In addition to attack missions by tactical aircraft and rescue work
by its helicopters, the Marine wing was also responsible for pro-
viding antiaircraft defense. It was not until July 1951, 13 months
after the nkpa invasion of South Korea, that a formal air defense
had been established for the country. Fifth Air Force was given the
command responsibility of coordinating the aerial defense net for
South Korea and its adjacent sea frontiers. In mid-November 1951,
the FAF commander had revised the defensive system, dividing his
32 ibid., p. D-3.
33 Ibid., p. D^i.
Operations in West Korea
area into a northern and southern sector, at a point exactly halfway
between the 36th and 37th Parallels.
FAF commanded the northern air defense sector while the south-
ern sector became the responsibility of CG, 1st MAW. In turn, these
two sectors were further divided into subsectors. Each of these,
through a tactical air direction center (TADC), maintained radar
surveillance of its assigned area and performed plotting and identi-
fication functions. Each subsector was charged with being "directly
responsible for sector air defense." 34
Although the 1st MAW commander had been designated as the
Air Defense Commander, Southern Sector, Korea, he was not actu-
ally given the means to carry out this responsibility. He still did not
have command over his tactical squadrons, nor could he exercise
control over operations of his tactical air coordination center
(TACC) or TADC. 35 Moreover, his southern sector could not
originate practice air warning messages. The wing commander had
to obtain permission from JOC before he could begin practice inter-
cepts for training his radar intercept controllers.
Several other deficiencies existed in the air defense system that
the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing had inherited. There were no ground
antiaircraft weapons at the Marine fields until a .50 caliber auto-
matic weapons battery was detached from the 1st 90mm Antiaircraft
Artillery Battalion, FMF, early in 1952 and sent to K-3, the home
field of MAG-33- Other inadequacies were deficient equipment — a
search radar limited to 30 miles out and 20,000 feet up — and lack
of an interceptor aircraft capable of rising to meet the faster swept-
wing jets the enemy was employing. Airfields housing Marine air
groups did not have revetments for either aircraft parking areas or
Not all of these weaknesses were acquired with assumption of
the air defense mission. There had been a general lack of concern
about air defense throughout South Korea. This attitude had resulted
from the air supremacy which the Fifth Air Force had quickly
established. Camouflage was seldom practiced. Dispersal of aircraft,
supply dumps, and servicing facilities was employed only rarely.
84 Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 616.
35 TACC is the senior agency for controlling all tactical aircraft and air warning
functions; the TADC performs similar functions in an area controlled by the TACC.
JCS, Dictionary of United States Military Terms for Joint Usage (Short title: JD),
JCS Pub. 1 (Washington, 1964), p. 141, hereafter JCS, JD.
Defending the Line
In fact, at K-6, there was not sufficient land to properly scatter
installations and aircraft.
Defense of the southern sector was commanded from K-3
(Pohang), the site of the TACC (Major Fred A. Steel). Marine
Ground Control Intercept Squadron 1 (MGCIS-1) was set up
on the west coast at K-8 and MGCIS-3 (Lieutenant Colonel Owen
M. Hines), on the east coast, near Pohang. Each of these intercept
units had an early warning detachment operating off the mainland.
Antiaircraft artillery was provided by the 90mm AAA battalion,
which was controlled, however, by eusak. The 1st MAW com-
mander specified a ready alert status for two aircraft during daylight
hours. Just before sunrise and sunset, four planes were put on strip
alert. Aircraft for night alert were provided by VMF(N)-513 until
April, when the requirement was withdrawn. By 30 June 1952, 1st
MAW air defense operations had destroyed a total of five enemy
planes. The F7F night fighters flown by VMF(N)-513, moreover,
had frequently been scrambled to intercept hostile night intruders
that had penetrated into the Seoul area, or northern sector.
This low kill rate did little to atone for the steadily increasing
number of Marine aircraft lost to enemy flak. Although the number
of friendly planes destroyed or damaged in air-to-air combat during
the latter half of Korean hostilities diminished sharply compared
to the early period, losses due to ground fire were reaching alarming
proportions in early and mid-1952. In May 1952 Navy and Marine
air losses to enemy action were twice the total for April, and the
June figure was even higher. By June, the Communists had massed
more than half of their antiaircraft artillery along communication
routes that FAF struck nearly every day.
Remedial action was soon taken. Stress on flak evasion was empha-
sized in pilot briefings and debriefings. The MAG-33 intelligence
section came up with a program that attempted to reduce losses by
a detailed analysis of flak information. The originator of this system,
First Lieutenant Kenneth S. Foley, based his method on:
. . . photo interpretation of an up-to-date flak map, scale 1:50,000, and
an intelligent utilization of flak reports disseminated by the 67th Tactical
Reconnaissance Squadron of the 5th Air Force. Frequent briefings were
given to each squadron on the enemy AA capabilities. Elaborate overlays
were drawn up and displayed. Target maps, clearly showing AA positions
and flak clocks [danger areas}, were given to flight leaders to aid them in
evading known AA guns in their target area. Through flak analysis, the
Operations in West Korea
safest route to the target area was determined and an actual attack and re-
tirement route was suggested. These recommendations appeared in a flak
summary presented at each combat briefing. 1 ' 6
Other measures attempted to reduce mounting losses of personnel
and aircraft. In all Marine air units, evasion and escape tactics were
stressed. In addition to the FAF de-emphasis on interdiction of
communication routes that had come about, in part, due to heavy
aircraft losses, Fifth Air Force decreed that beginning 3 June, "with
the exception of the AD and F4U aircraft [1st MAW types] only
one run will be made for each type of external ordnance carried and
no strafing runs will be made." 37 CTF 77 ordered that in all attack
runs, aircraft would pull out by the 3,000-foot altitude level. The
Marines, combining their air and ground efforts, came up with a
positive program of their own. It was to become the first known
instance of Marine ground in support of Marine air.
Although the originator of the idea cannot be positively identified,
the time that artillery flak suppression firing was first employed can
be traced back to late 1951, when the division was still in East
Korea. 38 It was not until June 1952, however, that a published pro-
cedure for conducting flak suppression firing appeared in Marine
division records. That same month another type of flak suppression,
this by an aircraft, was utilized by the 1st Marines, commanded at
the time by Colonel Walter N. Flournoy. The procedure called for
the FAC [forward air controller] to relay gun positions to friendly
strike planes which temporarily diverted their attack to silence the
located gun. Although the method "worked with good results," 39
it was not destined to become the system adopted by the Marines.
The more frequently used flak suppression called for artillery to
30 VMF(N)-513 ComdD, Jun 52, App II, p. 5. Mention of a flak analysis program
first appeared in the March 1952 records of MAG-33. Aircraft losses on interdiction
strikes (the program was not applicable to CAS missions) dropped for the next several
months. When Lieutenant Foley transferred to the night squadron, he took his system
with him and had it put into operation there. LtCol Kenneth S. Foley interv by HistBr,
G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 24 Mar 66.
37 FAF CbtOps Notam No. 6-10.1 cited in App. 9, PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, Chap. 10,
38 Pala comments; Nihart comments. Both of these officers, the former artillery, the
latter infantry, recall flak suppression firing late in 1951 or early in 1952 when the
division was on the eastern front. Colonel Nihart pointed out, in addition, that "such
expedients and new tactics went on for some time before getting into the regimental
30 IstMar ComdD, Jun 52, p. 2.
Defending the Line
fire on hostile gun positions that could impede the success of a
friendly close air support strike. Several Marine officers appear to
have had . a major role in the development and employment of this
technique. Among them were Brigadier General Frank H. Lamson-
Scribner, Assistant Commanding General, 1st MAW; Colonel
Henderson, the 11th Marines commander; and Lieutenant Colonel
Gerald T. Armitage, 3/1 commander.
The 1st Marines battalion commander explained how the system
operated in late spring 1952:
I was in an outpost watching an air strike. I asked Captain Shoden
[John C, the battalion forward air controller] to work out some idea
of flak suppression. Shoden, G-2, and others worked two or three weeks
to complete the first plot of antiaircraft positions. My idea was to have a
plane start a run and then pull up before finishing the dive. The enemy
antiaircraft gunners could not tell that the pilot was pulling out at an
extremely high level. The batteries would fire and Marine observers would
plot their positions from their fires. Then, the Marine artillery would lay
a heavy barrage on these positions. 40
While observing an air strike from the Marine division sector,
General Lamson-Scribner noted that prior to the strike there had
been no preparatory firing on enemy antiaircraft artillery positions.
After the strike he discussed this matter with General Selden, who
"directed me to discuss with his chief of staff what I had observed
and my suggestions that division firepower for 'flak suppression' be
coordinated with air strikes." 41 The upshot of this was that the
division chief of staff suggested that the 11th Marines regimental
commander and his staff members develop an SOP 42 for using
artillery flak suppression fires in support of close air support strikes.
It was believed that proper utilization of these fires would reduce
aircraft losses and further increase the opportunity for a successful
close air support mission by destruction of enemy antiaircraft
40 LtCol Gerald T. Armitage interv by HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 15 Aug 61.
41 Ma/Gen Frank H. Lamson-Scribner ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 12
42 An SOP, standing operating procedure, is a set of instructions for conducting oper-
ations that lend themselves to established procedures. ]CS, ]D, p. 133.
43 With respect to the effect of enemy fire on attack aircraft, the CO, MAG-33 later
commented that "Antiaircraft artillery has a direct deterioration effect on pilot accu-
racy, particularly with regard to care in getting on target and doing a precise job." CO,
MAG-33 ltr to CG, 1st MAW, dtd 25 Jul 52, quoted in PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, p. 9-76.
Operations in West Korea
On 30 June 1952, the 11th Marines published the SOP. Since the
objective was to prevent enemy fire from interfering with friendly
strike planes, the key to the entire procedure was the precise coordi-
nation of artillery fire with the delivery of aircraft ordnance. As
Colonel Henderson described the system:
When the infantry regiment received word of an air strike, the air liaison
officer plotted on the map . . . the target of the strike, the orbit point, the
direction of approach, and the altitude . . . and direction of pullout. Then
the artillery liaison officer, by looking at the map, could determine which
of the Chinese positions could bring effective fire on the strike aircraft.
The artillery battalion had prearranged code names and numbers for every
antiaircraft position. All the artillery liaison officer had to do was pick
up the phone and tell the F.D.C. [fire direction center] 'flak suppression'
and read off what targets he wanted covered.
These fires were then delivered on the request of a forward observer
who was with the forward air controller . . . When there was a forward
air controller up in the front lines controlling the strike, we would put a
forward observer with him. When the planes were . . . ready to go, the
F.O. [forward observer] got the word 'Batteries laid and loaded,' and he
would tell them to fire. The minute the FO would get the word, 'On the
way,' the forward air controller would tell the planes to start their run.
As a result, we had cases where the planes were in their bombing run
within 30 seconds after the flak suppression was fired, which meant that
they were in on the target while the positions were still neutralized. The
question of control and split second timing is of exceeding importance
because the aircraft are going 300 to 400 miles an hour. . . .**
Early in the program the MAG-12 commander reported that
although the flak suppression procedure was not flawless, it was
proving "very capable and workable." 45 An indication of the success
of 1st Marine Division pioneering efforts in flak suppression is seen
in the fact that shortly after it was put into operation "there was
a steady stream of visitors to the 11th Marines CP to find out what
[it was] and how we were doing it and to get copies of our SOP." 40
The procedure was eventually adopted by other Eighth Army units.
Marine air losses from hostile ground fire during CAS strikes
immediately began to drop from the June peak and never again
reached this level. In 124 close support sorties flown by 1st MAW
on 13 August, not one plane was shot down and only four received
■■ 4 Henderson Itr 11.
J5 CO, MAG-12 Spdltr to CG, 1st MAW, dtd 2 Jul 52, Subj: Comments on 11th
Mar Flak Suppression SOP, cited in PacFlt EvalRpt, No. 5, Chap. 9, p. 9-78.
* a Henderson Ur II.
Defending the Line
minor damage from enemy flak. Although there were some com-
plaints as to execution of the flak suppression program these would
be corrected, in the main, by a revised procedure which the 11th
Marines would undertake in the winter of 1952.
Spring 1952 on Jamestown 47
Earlier in the year the Marines had revised their estimate of enemy
capabilities after the lengthening of the division MLR by I Corps
and the subsequent heavy enemy attack. The re-evaluation placed
the most likely course of Chinese action as defending their present
positions with the 21 infantry battalions assigned and also cautioned
that the Communists could mount a limited objective attack at any
time of their choosing. Division intelligence estimated that the
Chinese could muster up to "57 infantry battalions supported by 12
artillery battalions and 40 tanks and/or self-propelled guns" for a
thrust into the Marine sector. 48
The enemy, however, showed little disposition for any concerted
ground attack during the remainder of April. But before the month
ended, Marines, in conjunction with other I Corps divisions, had
deluged the enemy with artillery and tank fire in Operation clobber.
The purpose of this shoot was to inflict maximum casualties and
damage by employment of the element of tactical surprise. The
reinforced 11th Marines, augmented for this occasion by Company
D, 1st Tank Battalion and nine of the battalion's 105mm howitzer
and flame tanks, blasted Chinese CPs, bivouac areas, artillery and
mortar positions, and observation posts. Marine frontline regiments
joined in with their organic mortars. Since most of the firing took
place at night when results were unobserved, no estimate could be
made as to the effect of the operation on the enemy.
A new Marine artillery tactic about this time was the counter-
counterbattery program instituted by the 11th Marines. The regiment
had developed this technique to counter superior enemy artillery
strength. This situation, as well as the fact that I Corps artillery
47 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpts
No. 4, Chap. 9, No. 5, Chap. 8; IstMarDiv ComdDs, Apr-Jun 52; 5thMar ComdDs,
Apr-Jun 52; 7thMar ComdD, Jun 52; llthMar ComdDs, Apr-May 52; 1/5 ComdD
May 52; 1/7, 2/7 ComdDs, May 52.
4S IstMarDiv ComdD, Apr 52, p. 1.
Operations in West Korea
available to the division was considered inadequate for counter-
battery support, led the Marine division to adopt the new program
in May 1952. One provision required a battery in each battalion
to select counter-counterbattery positions and occupy them for 24
consecutive hours each week. Another proviso of the program was
the selection by each battalion of 10 roving gun positions that were
to be occupied by a single weapon rotated to each place at least
once weekly. By these tactics, the artillery regiment hoped not only
to mislead the Chinese in their estimate of the strength and location
of Marine artillery but also to dilute enemy counterbattery intelli-
gence by causing him to fire into areas just vacated by friendly guns.
"The effectiveness of the program was demonstrated on numerous
occasions when the enemy fired counterbattery into unoccupied
positions." 49 An added advantage was that of providing deeper
supporting fires on target areas. 50
Still another concept regarding the employment of artillery devel-
oped during the early days of the JAMESTOWN defense. The 11th
Marines had advised the infantry regiments that it could effectively
fire on enemy troops attacking friendly positions if the Marines had
overhead cover. The idea was to use variable time (VT) fuzes 51
with the standard high explosive (HE) shells. Artillery battalions
supporting the frontline regiments registered on positions occupied
frequently by patrols going forward from JAMESTOWN.
According to the recollections of veteran artillery and infantrymen
in the division, the first occasion that pre-planned artillery fire was
placed on friendly positions occurred in May 1952. 52 The episode
involved a 2/7 platoon patrol that late on 18 May was ordered to
return to the MLR from an outpost on the former OPLR. Operating
forward of the center regimental sector, 58 the platoon commander,
Second Lieutenant Theodore H. Watson, directed that two of the
three Marine squads return to the MLR. The remaining unit, sur-
rounded by about 50 Chinese, engaged them in a brisk fire fight..
i0 PacFll EvalRpt No. 5, p. 8-51.
50 LtCol Bruce F. Hillam comments on draft MS, dtd 31 Aug 66.
51 A type of proximity fuze, the V.T. depends upon an external source, such as an
electronic signal, rather than the force of ground impact, to detonate the shell at a pre-
determined height over the target.
52 IstMarDiv ComdD, May 52, p. 4.
53 The 7th Marines advanced to the line to relieve the 5th Marines in the center
sector on 11 May.
Defending the Line
When the artillery fired to seal off the enemy and box-in the
defensive position failed to discourage the hostile force, Lieutenant
Watson ordered his men into the shelter of two nearby bunkers. He
then requested the artillery to place VT directly over his positions. 54
The volleys of overhead fire and effective Marine small arms fire
then forced the enemy to call off his assault. Although the exact
number of Chinese casualties could not be determined, the new
fire technique fully accomplished its purpose — repelling the enemy
Initiating the infantry action in May was the 1st KMC Regiment,
holding the division left flank, with its 2d and 1st Battalions on
line. At dusk on 3 May a platoon-size raiding party, under Second
Lieutenant Kim Young Ha, left an outpost forward of the 1st
Battalion line on a prisoner-taking mission and headed for the
objective, Hill 34, adjacent to the rail line to Kaesong and about a
half-mile west of the Sachon River. When the platoon was within
approximately 1,000 yards of its goal, a support squad was detached
near a trail and stream juncture to ambush any enemy attempting to
attack the raiders from the rear. 55 The remainder of the platoon,
two assault squads, then continued towards the objective, moving
cautiously and halting for an hour because of the bright moonlight.
After midnight the moon disappeared behind the clouds, and
the Koreans again emerged. They advanced towards a village imme-
diately south of the objective. After searching a few houses and not
finding any enemy, the KMCs started on the last leg to Hill 34.
As soon as the objective came into view the raiders deployed for the
assault. At 0410 the two squads of Korean Marines charged the
knoll, immediately drawing heavy Chinese small arms fire. When
the raiders continued their assault, the enemy retreated to his trench-
works and bunkers where he continued to fire on the KMCs. Since it
now appeared to the patrol leader that the probability of taking a
prisoner was unlikely, he prepared to return to friendly lines. He
first arranged for artillery to cover the withdrawal of the patrol,
and then broke off the 18-minute fire fight, taking his only casualty,
54 The artillery regiment had earlier developed the "box-me-in" fires for outpost de-
fense. If under heavy attack the outpost could call for these preplanned close-in fires that
completely surrounded the position. In event of radio or wire communication failures,
the outpost could call for "box-me-in" or "Fire VT on my position" by signal flare or
other pyrotechnic device. Henderson Itr II.
55 This support squad itself was later ambushed. The heavy casualties it received
prevented its further participation in the raid. KMC Regt UnitRpt 53, dtd 4 May 52.
perations in West Korea
a wounded rifleman, with him. The KMCs counted 12 enemy dead.
No prisoners were taken. In the preliminary action, the support
squad had also suffered three killed and seven wounded.
As the KMC raiders were making their way back to the MLR,
a combat patrol from 1/5, the reserve battalion of the 5th Marines,
prepared to move out. This patrol was one of many dispatched by
the battalion during the first week of May in accordance with its
mission of patrolling in front of the OPLR, between the MLR and
the OPLR, and throughout the regimental sector. On this occasion,
the patrol was to occupy the high ground south of former Outpost
3, which had become the focal point of activity in the center sector. 50
When used as a base of fire, this ground provided a position from
which automatic weapons could readily cover enemy lines or tie in
with adjacent friendly defenses. In addition, the 1/5 patrol was
to drop off friendly snipers to cover the former OPLR position, to
maintain surveillance, and to ascertain to what extent the Chinese
were developing the outpost. The task went to a Company A platoon,
which the unit commander, First Lieutenant Ernest S. Lee, reinforced
with light and heavy machine guns.
At sunup the Marines crossed line jamestown and before 0900
had reached the high ground they were to occupy. Here the patrol
leader set up his base of fire, then pushed on with the rest of his
men to the outpost, receiving occasional mortar fire before reaching
the old position. While organizing his men at the objective, Lieuten-
ant Lee received word by radio that the Chinese were preparing to
attack. Almost immediately, intense shelling struck the forward slope
of the hill. A Marine aerial observer (AO) detected 60-70 Chinese
advancing from the next hill, some 800 yards to the front of the
Marines. The AO also reported that the enemy was firing mortars
towards OP 3.
Shortly thereafter the Chinese fire ceased. Moments before it
lifted, the patrol received a second warning that an enemy attack
was imminent. Even as this message was being received, about 30
Chinese rushed the patrol. The Marines immediately took the hostile
assault force under fire, killing 14 CCF with well-placed small arms
80 This position, the site of the mid-April battle, along with several others had been
abandoned when the division withdrew its OPLR late in April. Infantry regiments dis-
patched frequent patrols in an attempt to discourage the enemy's incorporating the hill
into his own OPLR.
Defending the Line
fire. Overhead, four 1947-vintage Marine Corsair fighters (F4U-
4Bs) struck at troublesome mortar positions previously located by
the AO. At 1330 another aerial strike against Chinese mortars and
enemy positions on the hill north of OP 3 was executed. These two
air missions were credited with destroying six mortars, damaging two
others, and wrecking seven personnel bunkers. During the second
strike the 1/5 patrol began its withdrawal.
On two occasions during the patrol's return to its base the enemy
attempted to ambush it. Each time the attempt was thwarted, once
by the patrol itself and the second time, with the help of friendly
artillery. On the way back several loud explosions suddenly halted
the patrol. Investigation revealed that the Marines, carrying their
casualties of one dead and four wounded, had inadvertently stum-
bled onto a path not cleared of mines. Two members of the stretcher
bearer detail were killed and three others wounded by the AP (anti-
personnel) mines that had not been charted on friendly maps by the
Marines' predecessors in the defense sector. A mine clearance team
promptly disposed of the danger. With the aid of fires from a 2/5
patrol on the nose of a nearby hill, the 1/5 platoon was able to
break contact. After pulling back several hundred yards, the patrol
reached a forward medical aid station where jeeps picked up the
more seriously wounded and took them to helicopters, which com-
pleted the evacuation. Patrol members reported 27 known enemy
dead, including one that had been propelled into the air by a direct
hit from an artillery round.
The next major Marine ground action soon involved the same
Company A platoon, but this time as part of a larger force. Colonel
Culhane, the regimental commander, directed his 1st Battalion to
launch a new raid on the Outpost 3 area in an attempt to oust the
Chinese and thereby deny the enemy use of the critical terrain.
Inflicting casualties and capturing prisoners were additional tasks
assigned. On 8 May Lieutenant Colonel Nihart issued Operation
Order 12-52, calling for 1/5 to seize a series of three intermediate
objectives (S, V and X) en route to OP 3 (Y). (See Map 8.) The
combat patrol, reinforced by regimental elements, less Company B,
was to be prepared to move north of OP 3 to occupy the next hill
mass (Z), if necessary.
Operational plans called for Lieutenant Lee's Company A to do
most of the leg work as the assault unit. Captain Leland Graham's
Defending the Line
Company C, the diversionary force, was to make a feint against Hill
67, an enemy position southwest of OP 3, and to neutralize it by
fire. Weapons Company, under First Lieutenant Ross L. Tipps, in
support of the Company A force, was to set up a base of fire at a
designated position (T), southeast of OP 3. Artillery Support was
to be furnished by 1/11, 4/11, and the attached 4.5-inch Rocket
Battery. A section of regimental 4.2-inch mortars was also assigned.
One platoon of Company B tanks was to assist the assault force by
firing both on designated positions and. targets of opportunity. Close
air support flights were to be on station at two periods during the
9 May daylight operation.
In the early morning hours, under cover of darkness, all units
moved into position. At 0430 the 1st Platoon of Company A crossed
the line of departure heading for Objective S, a small ridge south
and west of OP 3. The 2d Platoon followed and moved out on the
right, while the 3d Platoon covered the rear. This hill, lightly
defended, was quickly overrun by the Marines. The 1st Platoon then
turned northeast towards the four peaks (designated as V, X, Y, and
Z), its main objectives. These four positions were all situated at
approximately the same elevation, 450 feet. A distance of some
1,300 yards separated the first and fourth hills in the north-south
As the 1/5 platoon neared Objective V, friendly rockets lashed the
crest of the hill, which was held by a reinforced enemy platoon in
mutually supporting fighting holes. Assisted by this fire, Marine
two-man teams with rifles and grenades assaulted the fighting holes
occupied by the Chinese. As the Marines proceeded to clear the
objective, half of the Chinese were forced to retreat to safer ground.
Marines estimated that 15 enemy were killed and a like number
wounded. By this time, three hours after setting out on the raid, the
platoon had seized one prisoner and sustained five wounded.
While reorganizing for the attack against Objectives X and Y,
the 5th Marines patrol came under a heavy artillery and mortar
barrage that killed one Marine and wounded three others. As the
main body of the assault force advanced towards Objective X to
support the attack, the lead elements of the company headed for
OP 3- Throughout this maneuver, the company remained under
heavy artillery fire.
Proceeding along the eastern slope of the ridgeline to assault
Operations in West Korea
knobs X and Y, the platoon had a good view of the effectiveness of
their friendly supporting artillery fire. In fact, the combined rocket,
howitzer, mortar, tank, and machine gun fire threw up so much
dust that at times it restricted the vision of the Marine assault team.
As platoon members neared the summit of Objective X they en-
countered a heavy stream of defending fire. A strong counterattack
from the front and left flank assailed the 1st Platoon, but the
Marines repulsed the enemy with accurate small arms fire, killing
six CCF. Infiltrators then attempted to envelop the Marine platoon
and isolate it from the rest of the Company A assault force. Succes-
sive waves of Chinese, employing a wedge formation, tried to over-
run the main body of the assault force. In repulsing this latest
counterattack, Company A killed 12 and wounded 5 enemy.
Quickly sizing up the situation, the company commander ordered
the 1st Platoon to rejoin the rest of the assault force. As the platoon
began to pull back at 1435 the Chinese blanketed the route with a
heavy barrage, firing "over four hundred rounds in a five minute
period." 57 This intense shelling took the lives of three Marines,
wounded a number of others, and halted the assault force just short
of its final goal. Even though the Chinese had been driven from the
three intermediate objectives, the devastating enemy mortar and
artillery fire made the Marine position untenable. A third of the
platoon moved back to Objective V; the rest worked their way along
a route east of that objective. While the rest of Company A and
Weapons Company elements occupied Hill T, the diversionary force,
Company C, reinforced by other Weapons Company personnel, had
remained at a strongpoint not far from Objective S. All supporting
ground weapons assisted in the withdrawal. In addition to lending
direct fire support, Marine tanks brought forward emergency sup-
plies and evacuated casualties. By 1730, the assault force had
returned to friendly lines, followed shortly by the rest of the
Although the battalion failed to seize and hold all of its objectives,
that part of the mission calling for inflicting casualties and taking
67 1/5 ComdD, May 52, p. 10.
Defending the Line
prisoners had been successfully executed. 58 Marines counted 35
enemy dead, 53 wounded, and 1 POW, and estimated that an addi-
tional 70 CCF had been killed and 105 wounded. Seven Marines were
killed and 66 wounded in the action described by some observers as
"the largest offensive effort the 1st Marine Division [has] made
since last September." 50 The battalion fire support was well con-
trolled and coordinated from an observation post on the MLR. Five
air strikes, including one MPQ-14 mission, were credited with
destroying three artillery pieces and an equal number of mortars,
damaging two other mortars, and demolishing six personnel
As the regiment noted, the earlier withdrawal of the OPLR had
"altered to a considerable extent the tactics employed in this area.
This is especially apparent in the number of patrol contacts close to
the MLR and displayed the eagerness of the enemy to move in on
any ground not held by friendly forces." 60 At the same time the
increased number of troops made available for the MLR defense
considerably strengthened the Jamestown Line itself. Sector respon-
sibility changed on 11 May. Colonel Russell E. Honsowetz' 7th
Marines relieved the 5th Marines in the center regimental sector,
with 2/7 and 1/7 occupying the left and right battalion positions,
When it took over the peace corridor sector the 7th Marines also
assumed the responsibility for emergency rescue of the Allied truce
delegates at Panmunjom. 01 The regiment advanced a mile nearer the
objective when it moved the pick-up force's assembly area to within
400 yards of the line of departure. The 7th Marines also replaced
the tanks in the force with M-39 personnel carriers, a U.S. Army-
developed tracked vehicle similar in appearance to the Marine
amphibian tractor. Another vehicle the 7th Marines retained in its
task force was a medium tank equipped with additional radios. This
armored communication and control vehicle was used as a radio
53 Lieutenant Colonel Nihart believed that the heavy enemy shelling, which had caused
the early retirement of his battalion, had been possible either because Chinese mortar
and artillery positions were so well camouflaged that intelligence had not located them
or else so well protected that UNC counterbattery fire had failed to destroy them. Ni-
69 5thMar ComdD, May 52, p. 9.
60 Ibid., p. I.
01 This force and its mission at various times were known as "Task Force Jig" or
Operations in West Korea
relay station on the MLR to assist in liaison between moving
infantry and tank units. Marine riflemen dubbed this command tank
the porcupine, to describe the effect of many bristling antennas
sticking out from its top. While the Marine division right sector,
occupied by the 1st Marines, remained relatively quiet during the
spring months on JAMESTOWN, the 7th Marines in the center
MLR would shortly be involved in the division's major ground
action in late May.
As part of the active defense of its Jamestown line, Lieutenant
Colonel Daughtry, commanding 1/7, issued a directive on 26 May
intended to deny to the enemy key terrain remaining on the old
OPLR. Operation Plan 16-52 called for an attack to seize two
parcels of high ground to the regiment's right front. At the same
time, the battalion was to neutralize two Chinese positions west of
the main objectives, Hill 104 (Objective 1) and the Tumae-ri Ridge
(Objective 2), approximately a half-mile further north. The desig-
nated attack force, Captain Earl W. Thompson's Company A, was
heavily reinforced. While Company A pursued its mission to the
right, a Company C reinforced platoon under Second Lieutenant
Howard L. Siers would conduct a feint on a pair of enemy positions
to the left. Support for the operation would come from 2/11, two
tank platoons, and from air, which was to be on call.
H-Hour was set for 0300 on 28 May. Attack and diversionary
forces on schedule crossed the line of departure, a half-mile north
of the MLR. Captain Thompson's main force advanced nearly to the
base of Hill 104 before the Chinese, in estimated reinforced platoon
strength, began to counterattack. The fight came to an abrupt end
when Second Lieutenant John J. Donahue led his platoon to the
top with bayonets fixed. 02 As the Marines dug in they came under
heavy mortar and artillery fire from CCF strongholds to the north.
On the left, meanwhile, Lieutenant Siers had received orders to seize
the closer of his two objectives, former OPLR 5, instead of merely
placing suppressive fire on it.
Moving forward from its base of fire, the platoon soon established
contact with the enemy. At 0554 the platoon began its attack on
the objective. Despite the close-in, hand-to-hand fighting, when it
became apparent the assault could not be stopped the enemy gave
02 Maj Kenneth A. Seal comments on draft MS, dtd Oct 66. At the time of this attack,
Lieutenant Seal commanded the 2d Platoon, A/l/7.
Defending the Line
way to Marine persistence in seizing the hill. By 0700 the Company
C, 7th Marines platoon had secured its objectives and begun prep-
arations for defense of the positions as well as continued support
of the main attack force. Heavy casualties, however, forced Lieu-
tenant Colonel Daughtry to recall the platoon and it returned to
the lines by 0930.
Up on Hill 104, Company A, 1/7 faced practically the same
situation. Taking Objective 1 had been costly and the advance
through withering enemy fire was adding to the casualties. A rein-
forcing platoon was sent from the MLR to help the company dis-
engage and return to friendly lines. Contact with the enemy was
broken shortly after noon. With the aid of air and artillery, the
company was able to make its way to the MLR by 1405.
Advancing only as far as it did, the attack, like the one earlier
that month, failed to take all the designated objectives. Casualties
to the 1/7 Marines were placed at 9 killed 63 and 107 wounded.
Most of the latter were evacuated for further treatment. Forty-five
of the enemy were counted dead and three wounded. Marines
estimated another 40 enemy killed and 40 more wounded. 64 The
action resulted in a casualty toll that was the highest to date for
any Marine company in western Korea. All three Company A rifle
platoon leaders — Second Lieutenants Donahue, Jules E. Gerding,
and Kenneth A. Seal — were wounded. This battle also became the
occasion for another unwelcomed record — 4,053 rounds of enemy
incoming, during a 24-hour period.
Following this late May offensive, a brief period of relative calm
settled over the MLR. Marine and Chinese units continued the active
defense of their respective sectors, with generally only a limited
number of contacts. Fire fights between Marine patrols and CCF
defenders lasted only a short time and usually ended when artillery
03 Two Marines killed in the action were later posthumously awarded the Medal of
Honor. Corporal David B. Champagne, A/ 1/7, was responsible for saving the lives of
the three other members of his fire team. When a grenade fell in their midst, Cham-
pagne grabbed it to hurl back to CCF positions. Just as it cleared his hand, the grenade
exploded, showering lethal shrapnel into the body of the 19-year-old Rhode Islander.
One of the C/l/7 reinforcement Marines, Private First Class John D. Kelly, had con-
ducted a one-man assault against a dug-in Chinese machine gun crew. Though painfully
wounded during this encounter, he disposed of the enemy, then reduced a second weap-
ons bunker. While firing point-blank into a third position the brave Marine was fatally
wounded. This 1/7 action was the first in the western Korea defense to result in mul-
tiple Medal of Honor awards.
04 1/7 ComdD, May 52, pp. 17-18.
Operations in West Korea
fire caused the patrol to pull back. Even though this state of affairs
remained essentially unchanged through June, several other events
that month would affect Marine defense of the westernmost sector
in I Corps.
End of the Second Year of War 65
A second realignment of the Marine-Commonwealth boundary
along Line JAMESTOWN was made on 1 June. Part of the rear of the
MLR was moved eastward to enable the Marine division to assume
full responsibility for a key ridgetop. Prior to this date the hill mass
had been divided along its crest, a factor that made it a potential
trouble spot for both divisions. On 23 and 24 June, the 7th Marines
MLR battalions relocated their positions towards the enemy along
JAMESTOWN. This readjustment of the line varied from 1,300 yards
in the center of the regimental sector to 400 yards near its right.
The additional terrain strengthened the division front by placing
the center regiment on improved and more defensible ground.
A week before this MLR change took place, there had been a
shift in occupants in its far right sector. Colonel Culhane's 5th
Marines replaced the 1st on line, which then went into division
reserve. Manning the MLR were 2/5 on the left and 1/5 to the
In early June the recently appointed UN commander, General
Clark, made his first visit to the 1st Marine Division front. During
his briefing, General Selden reviewed the unusual combat difficulties
confronting his Marines. In addition to the unfavorable terrain, the
division commander noted the special operational restrictions caused
by proximity to the truce talk site. Presence of a large number of
uncharted minefields created another obstacle. Herculean efforts were
required of the Marines to simultaneously man and construct defenses
over 35 miles of jamestown. Adding to Marine problems were
the facts that ground units were not receiving sufficient close air
05 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpts
No. 4, Chap. 9, No. 5, Chap. 8; IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52; 5th Mar ComdDs, Apr,
Jun 52; 7thMar ComdDs, May-Jun 52; 1/7 ComdD, May 52; KMC Regt Unit Rpt 120,
dtd 30 Jun 52.
Defending the Line
support and the capabilities of the Chinese were constantly increasing.
Chinese order of battle (OOB) information was fed into the
division intelligence network by higher commands, I Corps and
eusak, and adjacent units, but a large part of the data about Com-
munist forces was produced by the division itself. Frontline units
in contact with the enemy, by observation of his activities, supplied
the bulk of intelligence about enemy defense tactics, employment
of weapons, and combat characteristics. Supporting Marine division
units, particularly artillery and armor, fed more facts into the system,
mostly through identification of the caliber of enemy shells fired
at the Marines. As a result of its missions forward of the line and
actions in defense of it, the division reconnaissance company also
contributed to the intelligence network. Individual Marines, perform-
ing as tactical air observers and artillery air observers, as well as the
VMO and HMR pilots, were other important sources readily avail-
able to the 1st Marine Division.
G-2 directed the division intelligence effort, including processing
of raw material and supplying of updated reports to 1st Division
units. The G-2 section also maintained OOB and target identifica-
tion data on Chinese units and their commanders. Members of the
G-2 staff also assisted in interrogation of prisoners of war (POWs),
screened the civilians apprehended in unauthorized areas, debriefed
Marines exposed to enemy intelligence, and conducted inspections
of division internal security. In areas where the 1st Marine Division
had only a limited intelligence capability it turned to eusak for
Eighth Army teams augmented the division counterintelligence
efforts and provided most of the translation service. In addition,
three radio intercept units furnished information to the Marines.
The critical importance of this service had been proven during
several combat patrols in May when additional information was
instantly radioed to a friendly unit under fire.
Other intelligence activities were less beneficial to the Marines.
These operations were conducted by Tactical Liaison Officers
(TLOs, friendly Koreans trained by U.S. intelligence teams), and
members of a Higher Intelligence Detachment (HID), a Korean
unit assigned from eusak. Both the TLO and HID proved of
limited value to the division, due to the generally poor educational
background of the agents, their inadequate training, and frequent
Operations in West Korea
failure to return from assignments behind enemy lines. Some
Marines believed the basic fault in these operatives lay in "an
exaggerated opinion of their importance." 00
Several division intelligence Marines, in conjunction with training
and shore party personnel, took part in an informational activity of
a different type. These Marines reconnoitered several friendly islands
off western Korea to determine their suitability for division landing
exercises. The second one inspected, Tokchok-to, 30 miles southwest
of Inchon, was selected. By early June planning had progressed to
the point where a program had been developed for bimonthly
battalion landing team exercises. The KPR maneuver force, appropri-
ately reinforced, was designated as a participating unit. Landings
were to employ boat teams, amphibian tractors, and helicopters. The
entire program was designed to provide refresher training for
Marines in carrying out their primary mission of amphibious assault.
By the end of June, 3/5 and 3/1, in turn, had captured Tokchok-to.
Other training concentrated more on the task at hand. Division
units in reserve rehearsed tactics for offensive and defensive war-
fare. Most ground units conducted extensive schooling in both mine
and booby trap detection and clearance. Recognizing that patrolling
was an important part of a Marine's life on the MLR, the division
included in its Noncommissioned Officers' (NCO) Leadership
School a thorough indoctrination in patrolling tactics. 07 More than
50 percent of the training at all levels was at night. In addition,
an extensive orientation was conducted for newly arrived combat
replacements, who could not be committed to action for 72 hours
after joining the division.
A week after the division's June replacements landed at Inchon,
General Selden's headquarters received a directive that would
affect a number of these new Marines. On 10 June CG, eusak
ordered his corps commanders to make continuous efforts to secure
the identification and changes in the enemy order of battle. Two
days later I Corps followed the Eighth Army order with a letter
of instruction which called for each I Corps division to "prepare
plans for launching swift, vigorous, and violent large-scale raids to
00 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-33.
07 BGen Austin R. Brunelli ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 13 Sep 66,
hereafter Brunelli ltr. The division chief of staff during more than half of 1952, Colonel
Brunelli later observed that the "school produced more effective patrolling and . . .
contributed to reducing our casualties."
Defending the Line
capture prisoners, to gain intelligence, to destroy enemy positions
and material and/or strong limited objective attacks to improve
and strengthen Line Jamestown." 68 Large scale was defined as an
"attacking force limited to battalion or regimental (brigade) size
with appropriate armor and artillery support." 69 Divisions were
required to submit detailed proposals for future action by 21 June.
Marine division plans for limited objective attacks during July by
units of the 7th Marines and KMCs were subsequently prepared and
forwarded to I Corps.
One operation conducted north of the 2/5 left battalion sector
early on 22 June was not, however, in response to this enemy iden-
tification mission. Late the previous day, Company G had sent out
a 16-man ambush. Before the Marines reached their destination, a
small enemy force, itself lying in wait, began to pour a heavy volume
of fire on the Marines. At this point the patrol was ordered to pull
back. One group of 10 made it back to the MLR; the remaining
Marines headed for a nearby combat outpost in friendly hands.
Reports to the company revealed one Marine not accounted for.
The outpost commander was directed to search the area for the
missing Marine. This reconnaissance by a fire team failed, but a
reinforced squad sent out later brought back the body of the Marine
who had been killed by Chinese artillery.
While this rescue effort was in progress, another similar action
was under way. Not long after its arrival on the MLR, Company
E, 2/5 had spotted in the No-Man's-Land between the two main
defensive lines a figure that appeared to be the body of a
Marine. Since one man had been reported missing from an earlier
1st Marines patrol, recovery of the body, which had been propped
up against a mound of dirt in the open, was undertaken. A special
Company E patrol left the main line shortly before dawn on the
22d and reached the recovery area at daybreak. After artillery had
laid down smoke, the patrol moved in, quickly recovered the body,
and set out for friendly territory. Before the Marines had advanced
very far on their return trip, the Chinese interdicted their route
with heavy mortar fire, which killed one member of the patrol and
wounded another. When the 5th Marines patrol returned to
IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52, App. I, p. 8.
Operations in West Korea
JAMESTOWN shortly after 0700, it carried not only the body it had
recovered but also that of the Marine who had been killed on the
By the end of June, major command changes had taken place
within the 1st Marine Division as well as in several other UNC
components. On 13 June, Brigadier General Robert O. Bare took
over the second spot from Brigadier General Twining. Both ADCs
were graduates of the Naval Academy and both were native mid-
Westerners (General Bare — Iowa, General Twining — Wisconsin).
Before joining the 1st Marine Division in Korea General Bare had
served at Camp Pendleton, California where most recently he had
been commanding general of the Training and Replacement Com-
mand. His World War II experience included participation in
both European and Pacific campaigns. He was the Staff Officer,
Plans, in the U.S. Naval Section for the Allied naval group that
planned the amphibious assault at Normandy, France. Later he
served in the Peleliu and Okinawa campaigns and, with the ending
of hostilities, had participated in the surrender and repatriation of
the Japanese in north China.
The outgoing ADC, General Twining, was being reassigned to the
Office of the Commandant, HQMC. For his outstanding service as
assistant division commander from March through May 1952, he
received a Gold Star in lieu of his second Legion of Merit with
Other high-level changes in command that had also recently
taken place had included the UNC commander himself, General
Ridgway, who had been succeeded in mid-May by General Clark.
Major General Glenn O. Barcus, USAF, had assumed command
of Fifth Air Force, replacing Lieutenant General Everest on 30
May. On 4 June, Vice Admiral Robert P. Briscoe had been named
the new Commander, Naval Forces Far East to succeed Vice Admiral
C. Turner Joy who had held the position since August 1949. And
in I Corps, Major General Paul W. Kendall, USA, took over as
corps commander on 29 June from Lieutenant General O'Daniel.
The end of the second year of the Korean fighting and the
beginning of the third was observed by the Chinese with an attack
against the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, manning JAMESTOWN posi-
tions to the left of the regimental sector. Commanded at that time
Defending the Line
by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas J. Cross, 2/5 was new on line,
having relieved 2/1 during the night of 15-16 June.
Late in the afternoon of 24 June, the enemy began registering his
mortars and artillery on MLR company positions of 2/5 and a
portion of the rear area occupied by the battalion 81mm mortars.
Chinese incoming, sometimes intense, sometimes sporadic, continued
until shortly after 2130. By this time the CCF were moving down
their trenches toward a key outpost, Yoke, known also as Hill 159,
which was still occupied on daytime basis by the Marines and lay
north of the Company F Sector (Captain Harold C. Fuson). Mo-
ments later, the 34 men temporarily outposting Yoke saw the Chinese
and opened with small arms . fire, but the Marine positions were
quickly enveloped by the Chinese. The Americans occupying the
forward slopes of Yoke suffered many casualties from the intense
fires supporting the enemy rush.
While the initial attack was in progress, the Chinese were able
to position and fire machine guns from behind the outpost and in
trenches on the forward slopes. Communist mortars interdicted the
Marine supply routes to make normal withdrawal and reinforcement
measures difficult. The Marines moved into bunkers, called down pre-
planned fires, and continued the defense. Although the Chinese had
overrun Yoke, they could not evict the Marines. At about 0300, the
enemy withdrew. When the 2/5 troops followed to reoccupy the for-
ward slopes of Yoke, the enemy renewed his attack and struck again.
As before, the Marines took to bunkers and called in defensive artil-
lery fires. These boxing fires fell around the outpost perimeter until
first light when the attackers withdrew for the second time.
Four other outposts in the battalion area were involved in the
anniversary attack, but the action around Yoke was by far the heav-
iest. It resulted in 10 Marines of 2/5 killed and 36 wounded. At
Yoke alone, 9 were killed and 23 wounded. Enemy dead were 12
known and 50 estimated killed. Chinese wounded were estimated
at 100. At one point during the attack on Yoke, the outpost com-
mander reported that the enemy were wearing gas masks and using
tear-gas grenades! Investigation revealed that the Chinese had car-
ried and even worn the masks, but that they had employed white phos-
phorus grenades rather than tear gas. This was the first instance
Marine division personnel had ever encountered of CCF soldiers
carrying gas masks in an attack and it was "believed part of the
Operations in West Korea
enemy's hate campaign to impress their troops with the possible use
by the UN Forces of CBR (Chemical, Biological and Radiological)
This violent eruption of enemy activity on the night of 24 June was
followed by a brief period of greatly reduced ground action. Late on
the 29th, however, the battlefront lull was broken when the 1st
KMC Regiment sent out a raiding party to capture Chinese soldiers
and their weapons and equipment, to inflict casualties, and to destroy
positions. Second Lieutenant Kwak Sang In had his reinforced pla-
toon from the 3d Company, 1st Battalion, equipped with rifles, car-
bines, machine guns, flamethrowers, and explosives. Target for the
attack was an enemy outpost four miles south of Panmunjom that
overlooked the Sachon River.
The patrol followed the general pattern of previous raids. It made
use of supporting elements positioned on high ground in front of the
objective. In this action the patrol struck from the rear, using artil-
lery fire for both the assault and the withdrawal. Another similarity
existed in that the results were nearly the same — no prisoners taken
but fewer casualties to the attackers. One difference from earlier
operations was that this patrol employed flamethrowers and TNT
for destroying bunkers and inflicting casualties. Both weapons were
credited in the killing of 12 and the wounding of 6 Chinese, in
destroying 1 mortar and 7 bunkers, and in burning 3 other bunkers
and numerous automatic weapons and rifles. Because of the heavy
weight of a loaded flamethrower and the small size of the Korean
Marines carrying these weapons, the flamethrower operators were
fairly well exhausted by. the end of the patrol.
A Long Fourth of July n
The approach of the American Fourth of July holiday marking
an earlier struggle for freedom was appropriately accompanied by
ground action initiated by all of the mainland MLR regiments. In
the KMC area, a 3 July raiding party struck at forward enemy posi-
70 Selden, Div Staff Rpt, p. 16.
71 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpt
No. 5, Chap. 8; and IstMarDiv, 5thMar, 7thMar, llthMar, 1/5, 2/5, ill, ill, 1st TkBn
ComdDs, Jul 52.
Defending the Line
tions before dawn, killing nine Chinese. In the center regimental
sector Colonel Thomas C. Moore's 72 7th Marines were also engaged
in an active sector defense. In the left battalion spot 3/7, which had
replaced 2/7 on line, dispatched raids on each of the first three
nights of the month. Its Company G patrol on the night of 2-3 July
was to be involved in one of the most costly small unit actions in the
western Korea tour of duty for the Marine division.
Operational plans called for the platoon night raid on the 2d to
be followed by a dawn attack the next morning. In both actions, the
prisoner-taking aspect of the mission was considered a primary one.
The early part of the operation was uneventful. One platoon moved
forward toward the objective, Hill 159 (Yoke), 1,200 yards beyond
combat outpost (COP) White, to the regimental left, without making
contact with the enemy. The platoon then established a base of fire
on favorable terrain from which the attack by the second platoon
could be supported.
The second platoon passed through the forward position of the
first shortly before 0630 and moved out into enemy terrain. It ad-
vanced less than 300 yards before its progress was halted by a Chi-
nese force of battalion strength occupying the objective, Hill 1 59-
Heavy enemy rifle and machine gun fire, hand grenades, mortar and
artillery deluged the advancing Marines. Many of them quickly
became casualties, but the operation continued, due in part to the
determination and initiative of the NCOs. One of these was Staff
Sergeant William E. Shuck, Jr., in charge of a machine gun squad.
When the leader of one of the rifle squads became a casualty, Ser-
geant Shuck assumed command of that squad in addition to his own.
Although wounded, he organized the two units and led them against
the objective. Nearing the summit of the hill, the sergeant was hit a
second time. Still he refused evacuation, remaining well forward in
the lines to direct his assault force.
It was not until he had received orders to break contact with the
enemy that the sergeant pulled back from the attack. During the
withdrawal he looked after the other Marine casualties, making cer-
tain that all dead and wounded had been evacuated from the zone
of action. While directing the last of the evacuation, Sergeant Shuck
72 Colonel Moore took over regimental command on 11 June. The former CO, Colonel
Honsowetz, had been named Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 of the 1st Marine Division.
Operations hi West Korea
was struck by a sniper's bullet and killed by this third hit. 73 He was
one of four Marines killed in the engagement. Forty others were
wounded. Although no Chinese were captured, Marines estimated the
enemy suffered losses of 50 killed and an additional 150 wounded.
To the east of the 7th Marines, the 5th Marines in the right MLR
sector ordered a company-size patrol, also on the night of 2-3 July.
Company A, 1/5 was directed to attack successively three outposts
in the vicinity of the village of Samichon along the river bearing
the same name and two miles beyond the point where the MLR
crossed the river. After the reinforced company had taken the first
two objectives, which were unoccupied, it received orders from divi-
sion to return to the battalion area. Despite the fact the patrol had
ventured far beyond the Marine lines, it did not come into contact
with any Chinese forces.
A 2/5 combat patrol leaving the MLR just after dawn was suc-
cessful in inflicting casualties on the enemy, taking prisoners, and
destroying enemy field fortifications. The patrol made good prog-
ress until a Marine inadvertently set off an enemy mine. This mis-
hap gave away the patrol's location and prompted reprisal by the
Chinese. A one-hour fire fight followed. Then the patrol called in
smoke and returned under its cover to jamestown. Marine casual-
ties were 1 killed and 11 wounded. The second 2/5 patrol that
same date was a successful ambush completed 10 minutes before
midnight. In the brief clash that developed, Marine ambushers
killed 6 enemy and wounded 8 more. The Marine force suffered no
The ambush patrol returned 15 minutes after midnight on 4 July.
Even at that early hour division artillerymen had already initiated an
appropriate ceremony to mark the Fourth. On 2 July, I Corps had
directed the massing of fires on 4 July on the most remunerative
targets in each division area. All objectives in the corps sector were
to be attacked simultaneously at specified times for a one-minute
period by employing a firing technique known as time on target
,3 The leadership, bravery, and unselfish devotion to duty earned for Sergeant Shuck
the Medal of Honor, an award made to 14 Marines during the fighting in West
Korea. During the earlier part of the war, 28 Marines had received the Medal of
Honor. Of these, 17 were awarded posthumously. Five Navy hospital corpsmen, all
attached to the 1st Marine Division, also earned the MOHV These awards, with one ex-
ception, were for heroism under combat conditions during the 1952-1953 period of the
Defending the Line
(TOT) , 74 Normal daily fires were also to be carried out. Designated
as Operation firecracker, the shoot expended 3,202 rounds in the
division sector. Light and medium battalions of the 11th Marines,
plus its 4.5-inch Rocket Battery destroyed some enemy trenches,
bunkers, mortar and artillery positions, and damaged others. The
division reported that the special fires on 4 July had alsc resulted
in 44 known CCF casualties, including 21 dead, and 12 irnre who
were estimated to have been injured.
More casualties, however, resulted from the issuing of another I
Corps directive, this one dealing with the conduct of raids to seize
prisoners, obtain information about the enemy, and to destroy his
positions, supplies, and equipment. Back in June, the EUSAK com-
mander had first stressed to his corps commanders the increased
importance of combat raids to obtain additional intelligence during
this period of stabilized conflict.
Although General Selden had submitted two division plans, he
strongly believed that smaller patrols could accomplish the objec-
tive with fewer casualties and loss of life. 75 In particular, the divi-
sion commander pointed out to I Corps that adequate defense of the
35-mile-long Marine division front did not permit the withdrawal
of a sizable force for patrol missions without endangering the secu-
rity of the entire Corps sector. The attack order was issued, however,
on 3 July for the first large-scale raid to be conducted prior to 7 July.
The code name buckshot 2b was assigned for this particular raid.
As soon as he received the date of execution for the proposed
operation, the Marine division commander advised I Corps that desig-
nation of 7 July as the cut-off date for the raid precluded proper
rehearsal of attack plans. The operation would also conflict with
rotation. to the States of 2,651 Marines, whose replacements would
not be available until 11 July. Corps turned a deaf ear; division then
ordered a battalion-size attack for the night of 6-7 July.
Before dusk on 6 July, Lieutenant Colonel Daughtry's reinforced
74 In the TOT technique, participating units time their initial volleys to ensure that
their shells arrive on the target at the same time.
75 Among division commanders in the I Corps area, General Selden was not alone in
his grave misgivings of this method of gaining information about the Chinese. Major
General A. J. H. Cassels, 1st Commonwealth Division, shared with the Marine com-
mander the belief that such operations were too costly for the intended purpose. McGill
comments and Brigadier C. N. Barclay, The First Commonwealth Division: The Story
of British Commonwealth Land Forces in Korea, 1950-1953 (Aldershot, England: Gale
and Polden Ltd., 1954), p. 127, hereafter Barclay, Commonwealth.
Operations in West Korea
1st Battalion, 7th Marines moved into position — on the left, a tank-
infantry force, A/1/7 (still under Captain Thompson), to create a
diversion; in the center, the main assault force, Company C (Captain
Robert A. Owens) ; and on the right, a reinforced platoon from
Company B (Captain Lyle S. Whitmore, Jr.) to support the attack
by fire from positions close to the objective, Yoke. Earlier, three
reinforced squads from Captain Thompson's unit had occupied com-
bat outposts in the area of operations to deny the use of key terrain
to the enemy and to provide additional fire support in the attack.
At 2200, Captain Owens' Company C crossed the line of departure
and set its course for Yoke, three-quarters of a mile northeast. Five
minutes later the Company B support unit moved out to occupy the
intermediate objective, COP Green, one-half mile southeast of Yoke.
As it took up positions on COP Green, Captain Whitmore's Com-
pany B platoon discovered that no Chinese were in its vicinity; in
fact, the platoon was not to encounter any enemy forces during
Even though Company B failed to engage any Chinese, the
remainder of the battalion encountered more than its share. About
450 yards southwest of the objective the Company C attack force
was hit by an enemy ambush, which cut off Captain Owens' lead
element. Although the Chinese directed strong efforts at halting the
Marine advance, they were unsuccessful in this attempt. The Marines
pressed the attack and seized Yoke 20 minutes after midnight.
On the left, the diversionary attack unit, Company A supported by
the five tanks of the 2d Platoon, Company D, 1st Tank Battalion,
and by a section of flame tanks from the armored battalion head-
quarters, began its mission at 2355. In three-quarters of an hour,
the tank-infantry unit reached its objective, the first high ground
southwest of Yoke. Tanks turned their 90mm guns on known Chinese
positions on the hill to the north. During the next hour, the big
guns of the M-46 medium tanks sent 49 rounds into enemy emplace-
ments. The Marine tanks ceased fire at 0113 when Captain Thompson
was alerted to assist Company C. He left one rifle platoon with
Over on the high ground to the north and east, the attack force
was under heavy fire from Communist mortars and artillery and was
also receiving a number of enemy small-unit probes. At 0200, Com-
pany A made contact with Company C. Captain Thompson found
Defending the Line
the main force somewhat disorganized as a result of the wounding
of the company commander, Captain Owens, the loss of several key
officers and NCOs, and the effects of the lead element of Company
C being ambushed and cut off. After being briefed on the situation
by Captain Owens and conducting a reconnaissance, Captain Thomp-
son recommended to the battalion commander that the entire force
be recalled before daylight. At 0310 the two companies at Yoke
began to disengage, returning to the MLR by 0636 on the 7th,
without further casualties.
The one platoon of Company A and seven tanks of the diversion
unit were still in their forward positions on the left and had pre-
pared to resume firing. At dawn the M-46s relaid their guns on
targets that had become visible. Tank gunners destroyed two obser-
vation posts and three machine gun positions and damaged many
feet of trenchlines. At one point in the firing, the tank platoon
commander, Second Lieutenant Terry K. Donk, using a power scope,
observed ". . . two officers in forest green uniforms without equip-
ment. They were definitely giving orders to machine gunners and
infantry." 70 These 2 were among the 19 counted casualties (10
wounded) that the tankers inflicted during BUCKSHOT.
With the return at 0645 of the tank-infantry diversion force, the
special operation for obtaining prisoners and information ended.
No Chinese had been captured and no data gleaned from Commu-
nist casualties, listed as the 19 reported by the tankers and an esti-
mated 20 more wounded or killed. Marine casualties from the oper-
ation were out of proportion to the results achieved — 12 dead, 85
wounded, and 5 missing. It had been a high price to pay for a ven-
ture of this type, particularly when the primary objectives went unac-
During the entire 4-7 July period, 22 Marines had lost their lives
in combat operations. Division reported that 268 Marines had been
wounded during the long Fourth of July. These figures were the
highest since September 1951 when large scale attacks by UN forces
had first been abolished in line with the new tactic of positional
warfare that would be waged until the truce talks resulted in an
70 1st TkBn ComdD, Jul 52.
Operations in West Korea
Changes in the Lineup' 1 ''
Division casualties were considerably higher during the first week
in July than they were for the rest of the month. Once the pace of
combat slowed, following the initial flurry of activity, the front again
settled down to the patrol, raid, and ambush routine that had marked
the static period of the Korean fighting. In accordance with the
orders previously issued by higher authority the division placed con-
tinued emphasis on gathering all information it could about the
enemy, his dispositions, and tactics. To assist in this effort, General
Selden in July removed his reconnaissance company from defense
of its small sector of jamestown and directed the unit to conduct
training for its primary mission, obtaining intelligence about the
enemy. Its place on the MLR was assumed by the two amphibian
tractor companies then on line.
Another change of lineup took place on 14 July. At this time a
battalion from the 15th Regiment, U.S. 3d Infantry Division took
over the role of the maneuver element in the Kimpo Provisional
Regiment, then held by 1/1, thereby releasing that battalion to its
parent unit. With this change, the 1st Marine Division had a full
regiment in reserve for the first time since its arrival in western
Korea. A later shift in units occurred on 26 July when the 7th
and 1st Marines traded places and missions. At that time the MLR,
from west to east, was manned by the KPR, 1st AmTrac Bn, KMC,
1st Marines, and 5th Marines.
Opposing them in mid-July were an estimated 27 infantry bat-
talions, whose primary missions were to defend the sectors assigned.
The division credited these units with the capability of launching
limited objective attacks at any time or of taking part in a major
attack with a force of up to 57 infantry and 16 artillery battalions,
augmented by 40 tanks or self-propelled guns. It was estimated also
that the enemy could cross the Han in battalion strength in the vicin-
ity of the northern shore of Kimpo Peninsula at any time and that
Communist aircraft could attack anywhere in the division sector.
Enemy forces identified at the end of July, from west to east, were
the 193d, 195th, and 194th Divisions of the 65th CCF Army; the
189th Division of the 63d CCF Army; and the 118th Division, 40th
The material in this section is derived from the IstMarDiv ComdD, Jul 52.
Defending the Line
CCF Army, which had recently moved from a position opposite the
Commonwealth and U.S. 3d Infantry Divisions. Infantry strength of
the Communists was established at 28,328.
Replacement and Rotation™
Marine infantry strength at the end of July 1952 was little more
than half of the Chinese total. The division personnel strength was
maintained by the monthly replacement and rotation program of
Marines to fill vacancies created by the return of Marine combat
personnel to CONUS (Continental United States) and combat losses.
In the second quarter of 1952, the division rotated 433 officers and
6,280 enlisted men from Korea. In exchange, 506 officers and 7,359
enlisted men arrived from the States in replacement drafts. A new
arrival could expect to stay with the division about W l /z months.
In the late spring of 1952 many of the division's new replace-
ments were "dental cripples" — Marines requiring dental treatment,
even emergency care in some cases. 79 General Selden directed that
contact teams be formed to meet the replacement drafts in Japan.
During the last leg of the trip to Korea dental personnel screened
the new combat Marines on shipboard. By the time the division area
had been reached, the dentists knew what remedial work would be
required by incoming troops. At the end of the summer the problem
was well under control.
Even though the 1st Marine Division in July continued to be
somewhat in excess of its authorized strength in total personnel, it
had certain imbalances and was in rather short supply of certain
ranks and specialists. While the normal tour for most infantry
officers ranged from 9 to 12 months, an excess of company grade
officers, particularly lieutenants, had resulted in a reduction of the
Korean tour for them to just six months. This brief period of duty
plus an intra-division rotation policy that caused a mass shifting of
duty assignments every three-to-five months tended to reduce unit
combat efficiency. On the other hand the change of assignments
had a favorable effect in that it broadened the experience of indi-
78 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from PacFIt EvalRpts
No. 4, Chaps. 9, 10; No. 5, Chaps. 8, 9.
79 Btunelli Itr.
Operations in West Korea
vidual Marines. Beginning in the summer of 1952, however, the
division modified this policy to reduce its number of intra-division
Personnel shortages existed in both the artillery and tank MOSs
(Military Occupational Speciality). Mass rotation of reservist com-
pany grade artillery officers had necessitated the transfer of infantry
officers to the 11th Marines for training and reassignment within
the regiment. During the time when the supply of artillery officers
was limited, however, the quality of support rendered remained
high. 80 The other major shortage in the division was that of quali-
fied crewmen — both drivers and gunners — for the M-46 tanks.
Neither tank driving nor gunnery for the M-46 was taught in the
tank crewmen's course conducted at Camp Pendleton, California.
General Selden requested of Lieutenant General Franklin A. Hart
(CG, FMFPac) that "tank crewmen be thoroughly trained prior to
leaving the U.S." 81
Fundamental to the tank problem was a shortage of the M-46
itself. At the training facility, Training and Replacement Command,
Camp Pendleton, M-46 engines had been available for maintenance
instruction but no tanks for the training of gunners and drivers. 82
General Hart pointed out this deficiency to the Commandant, Gen-
eral Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. On 13 August the Commandant
directed the transfer of five tanks to the training installation from
the 7th Tank Battalion, 83 also located at Camp Pendleton. At the
same time General Shepherd ordered an increase in the school quota
for tank crewmen. The first graduates would not reach the division
in Korea, however, until the November draft.
The presence of not fully trained personnel in a combat zone was
not limited to the division. In the summer and fall of 1952, a large
number of volunteer reservists, both pilots and enlisted replacements
with little experience since the end of World War II, joined the
1st MAW. It had not been possible for the Stateside training and
tactical squadrons, themselves short of personnel and aircraft, to
qualify all pilots as combat ready. It fell upon the wing in Korea,
therefore, to take the needed corrective action. The more experienced
10 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-27.
11 IstMarDiv ComdD, July 52, p. 4.
'= FMFPac ComdD, Jul 52, App VIII, End (7), Anx (E).
18 FMFPac ComdD, Aug 52, App I, Enci (35).
Defending the Line
1st MAW pilots, after completing their combat missions, flew instruc-
tional flights to help prepare the rusty fliers. Some reserve pilots,
away from regular daily flying since 1945, found the adjustment
too difficult and turned in their wings. MACG-2 operated "Pohang
U," a training course for forward air controllers. In practically every
squadron, there were shortages of electronics personnel. Jet squadrons
found mechanics hard to come by. There were never enough motor
transport replacements. For unqualified enlisted Marines, squadrons
operated on-the-job training programs.
To maintain a reasonable degree of unit proficiency, the wing
limited the monthly turnover of pilots to 25 percent. Like the divi-
sion, the wing employed split tours between an officer's primary
duty and staff work to broaden his experience. In some cases the
amount of time required by administrative work as compared to a
pilot's actual flying time reduced his proficiency in the air. In June,
Task Force 95 reported that the proportionately large number of
take-off and landing accidents on the carrier Bataan was caused by
the rapid turnover of pilots and their need for frequent carrier quali-
A Marine pilot joining the wing could expect his assignment to
last for 6 to 9 months. Personnel in a nonflight status had longer
tours of 10 months to a year. Wing replacements were made on an
individual basis, although there were plans that by mid- 195 3 a new
policy of at least partial squadron replacement would be in effect.
That 1st MAW squadrons were able to operate effectively on an
individual replacement system was attributable to the peculiarity of
combat conditions in Korea. Absence of real enemy aerial opposition
permitted the use of basic, parade-type flight formations and non-
tactical approaches and attacks. An unusually high-level of experi-
enced pilots in each of the two wing groups helped in the establish-
ment of training programs and operational doctrine. The FAF limi-
tation of four aircraft per flight eliminated the problem of large-
scale, precombat squadron training as well as the difficulty of con-
trolling and coordinating a large number of planes in a strike.
PacFlt EvalKpt No. 4, p. 10-198.
Operations in West Korea
Logistical Operations, Summer 1952 65
Logistical support of the division and wing remained largely un-
changed through July. Several modifications did take place, how-
ever, and these were:
(1) The change of responsibility for logistical support of
ground-based units in Korea from Commanding General, 2d
Logistical Command to the Commanding General, Korean Com-
munication Zone (CG, KComZ).
(2) The opening of a pipeline system for resupply of aviation
fuel at K-3, beginning in May.
(3) The beginning of increased support for airbase mainte-
nance at those airfields housing Marine squadrons.
Resupply of common items used by both Marine and Army units
was still being hampered by the Marines' limited knowledge of the
Army supply system in effect and by their inability to obtain the
catalogues, orders, and directives essential for requisitioning.
Two logistical operations, both of an engineering nature, took
place between May and July 1952 in western Korea. One was Oper-
ation TIMBER, undertaken to provide lumber required to complete the
bunker construction on the JAMESTOWN, WYOMING, and KANSAS
lines. The division had estimated that three million linear feet of
4 x 8-inch timbers would be needed. Since lumber in this amount
was not available through supply channels or standing timber in the
division sector, Corps assigned the Marines a wooded area 50 miles
to the east in the U.S. 45th Infantry Division sector. On 12 May a
reinforced engineer platoon, under Second Lieutenant Roger E.
Galliher, a truck platoon, and 500 Korean Service Corps (KSC)
laborers, 86 began the cutting, processing, and hauling of timbers
which were then trucked to the railhead. Between 500 and 1,000
logs were cut daily. When the operation ended in July a total of
85 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: Selden, Div
Staff Rpl; PacFlt EvalRpts No. 4, Chap. 9, No. 5, Chap. 8; IstMarDiv, 1st EngrBn
ComdDs, Jun-Jul 52.
su The KSC was a ROK quasi-military organization for logistical support of the
UNC. Personnel were drafted from those rejected for Army service. Each KSC unit had
a cadre of ROK officers and enlisted. All types of labor except personal services were
performed by these Koreans. During its period in western Korea, the 1st Marine Divi-
sion was supported by the 103d KSC Regiment of 5,222 men. CG, IstMarDiv, Civ Afrs
and KSC, pp. 8-9.
Defending the Line
35,194 sections of timber had been cut. This was still not enough
lumber to complete the required construction. Eighth Army then
made up the difference, mostly with 12 x 12-inch timbers 30 feet
long; these the Marine engineers cut to 4 x 8s for standard bunker
Operation Amazon, published by I Corps on 12 June, ordered
that bridging preparations be made for the approaching summer
flood season. The previous August at the Honker Bridge, the one
nearest the railhead, the Imjin had crested some 27 feet above nor-
mal. One reason for the precautionary efforts taken to insure bridge
security during the flood season was the potential damage the Chi-
nese could cause. Since they controlled the upriver area of the Imjin,
before it entered the division sector, they could introduce floatable
debris or explosives into the swift running flood waters. Another
major concern was the logistical problem that would be faced by
forward MLR units in event the bridges became impassable and the
enormous strain that would thus be placed on helicopter resupply
The I Corps directive specified that its divisions maintain a trans-
port capability that would enable medium tanks to pass safely over
bridges spanning the major rivers in their I Corps sector. The order
also called for the removal of debris that could cause damage to
bridges. Removal of those bridges vulnerable to flood conditions
and the erection of emergency river spans were also to take place on
To carry out the I Corps operational order, General Selden put
the division's own AMAZON plan into effect on 1 July. On this date
Companies A, B, and D of Lieutenant Colonel Harry D. Clarke's
1st Engineer Battalion began extensive preparations for debris
removal from the four bridge sites in the division sector. Even
before this, Marine engineers and shore party personnel had been
trained at special schools to handle U.S. Army equipment provided
for the AMAZON operation. 88
Beginning 1 June, division engineers began blasting away at objects
87 Col Harry D. Clarke ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 1 Sep 66.
88 This included employment of the 60-inch searchlight for night illumination, main-
tenance of boats for debris removal, and operation of the M-4 ferry. Other preparations
by the division, of a non-engineer nature, included positioning of 13,000 life-saving
floatation devices for use by frontline troops should they become shut off from planned
Operations in West Korea
that flood waters could loosen and carry into the bridge supports.
Bridge approaches were improved and their supports strengthened.
Each company had a detail living at the bridge site for which it was
responsible. With the advent of heavy rains, these Marines were to
operate 24-hour boat patrols to keep the river free of debris. The
engineers were also to maintain a round-the-clock debris watch at
the four division bridges — Freedom Gate, or the Munsan-ni Railroad
Bridge in the left regimental sector; Honker and X-Ray in the
center; and finally, Widgeon, very close to the Commonwealth
Heavy rains began on 27 July and continued until the 30th. On the
first day the decking of Widgeon Bridge was completely submerged
and Honker was removed to prevent its being carried away. Precipi-
tation increased on 28 July and reached its peak on 29 July when
3.66 inches of rainfall were recorded. By the 30th, the rains had sub-
sided but not before the overflowing Imjin had collapsed the X-Ray
bridge. During the height of the four flood days, engineers fought
the rains, flooding waters, and floating debris. The major effort took
place downstream to save the Freedom Gate Bridge.
Assigned personnel removed debris from the bridge supports,
guided large, dangerous pieces away with poles, while upriver the
boat teams blasted still larger sections into manageable chunks that
would pass between the bridge supports. These engineer efforts, in
addition to regular repair and maintenance of the large road net, con-
stituted the major ground activity in the 1st Marine Division sector
in late July. August would bring more rains and emergency demands
on the engineers, but the critical ground activity at that time would
be directed against the Communists in the area around Bunker Hill.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
The Participants and the Battlefield — Preliminary Action on
Siberia — The Attack on Bunker Hill — Consolidating the De-
fense of Bunker Hill — Company B Returns to Bunker Hill —
Supporting Arms at Bunker Hill — In Retrospect
The Participants and the Battlefield 1
THE torrential rains that had fallen just before the end of July
continued to affect ground operations into early August. Con-
tacts between opposing forces were few and brief, and casualties
remained correspondingly low. On 1 August, General Selden assigned
the reserve regiment, the 7th Marines, the task of developing the
secondary defense line, Kansas, at the extreme right of the division
sector. The 5th Marines, manning this regimental area and originally
responsible for the construction, had been unable to reach the second
line because bridging across the Imjin to the rear of the sector was
washed out. By 3 July the division put a ferry service into operation
at the site of the inoperable Honker Bridge for the purpose of feed-
ing ammunition to combat units north of the Imjin. The critical
resupply problem began to ease the next day when the waters over-
flowing the Widgeon Bridge further upstream receded sufficiently
to permit restoration of normal vehicular crossings there.
Traffic in the air had, quite naturally, been less affected by the
heavy rains and by the flooded, mucky terrain that was slowing
ground movement throughout the entire division area. Flight oper-
ations during the first week of August produced a daily sortie rate
'Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpt
No. 5, Chap. 8; IstMarDiv ComdDs, Jul-Aug 52; IstMar, 2/1, 3/1 ComdDs, Aug 52;
1st MAW ComdD, Aug 52.
Opetations in West Korea
that would approximate the monthly average. In fact, the month of
August was to become the record one for 1st MAW^ attack and
fighter pilots during 1952, with a total of 5,869 sorties flown.
While the air people in August were maintaining a good weather
pace against the enemy following the July downpours, the Commu-
nist ground troops apparently found the going too difficult to mount
any sustained attack. The enemy merely continued his active defense,
with an average of two contacts daily, while busily engaged in
advancing his OPLR by creeping tactics. Even the usually assiduous
Chinese artillery was strangely quiet. With respect to the enemy's
excellent artillery capability, the 1st Marine Division in July learned
that the Chinese had introduced a 132mm Russian rocket in their
combat operations. The presence of this truck-mounted launcher,
the Katusha, which could fire 16 rockets simultaneously, was indi-
cated by a POW who had been informed by "his platoon leader that
there were two Katusha regiments in the CCF." 2 In addition to this
new enemy weapon, the Marine division reported the same month
that positive sightings had been made of self-propelled guns em-
placed well forward, and that there was an "indication that these
guns were being used to fire direct fire missions from frontline
Communist forward positions were gradually encroaching on
Jamestown. Since April 1952 the division had noted every month
that the enemy was continuing to extend his trenches in the direc-
tion of the Marine MLR. The Chinese technique was to occupy key,
high terrain at night, prepare the ground during darkness by dig-
ging trenches and constructing bunkers, and then vacate the area
before daybreak. After nightly repetitions of this process had pro-
duced a tenable position, the enemy moved in and occupied it. By
means of these creeping tactics, the Chinese hoped to acquire the
dominating terrain necessary for controlling access to Seoul. The ulti-
mate goal of the Communist forces was believed to be the 750-foot-
high Paekhak Hill, 4 the Marine high ground position also known
as Hill 229, just over a mile east of the road leading to Panmunjom
2 IstMarDiv ComdD, Jul 52, p. 2.
3 Ibid., p. 1.
4 CG, I Corps msg to CG, IstMarDiv, dtd 18 Jun 52, in IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52.
App. I, p. 5.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
During the four months that the 1st Marine Division's mission had
been to conduct an aggressive defense of the eusak left flank,
Marines had become familiar with a number of Chinese small unit
infantry tactics. Shortly after assignment of the division to western
Korea, General Twining, the ADC, had observed that the Chinese
first made a diversionary frontal assault while the main force maneu-
vered around UNC defenders to attack from the rear. Almost invari-
ably the Chinese employed this envelopment technique. Occasionally
the enemy also used more passive measures, such as attempting to
demoralize Marines in the front lines and subvert their allegiance
by English language propaganda broadcasts. These attempts repre-
sented wasted effort. Not one Marine was swayed.
In some cases the Chinese were imaginative in changing their tac-
tics or improvising new ones. This tendency had been noted as early
as May by a 5th Marines battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel
Nihart, after 1/5 had engaged the enemy in a limited objective
. . . when friendlies marked targets with WP [white phosphorus], the
enemy would immediately drop rounds of WP between the target and
friendly troops to conceal the target and to confuse friendly FOs [artillery
forward observers]; the enemy tried very hard to take prisoners (rather
than shoot a friendly, they would often attempt to knock him out with a
concussion type grenade) ; counterattacks were made in waves of four to
seven men deployed in a formation somewhat similar to the Marine Corps
wedge; snipers were deployed in holes that were mutually supporting;
concerted efforts were made to knock out automatic weapons; . . . for
close-in fighting, the enemy used PPSH [Soviet-made 7.62mm submachine
gun] guns and grenades rather than bayonets; the enemy attacked behind
well coordinated mortar fire; some enemy snipers were observed to have
bushes tied to their backs. . . . 5
On occasion 1st Division Marines found evidence that the enemy
had infiltrated their lines. It appeared the most likely spot for line-
crossers to make their way into the Marine rear area was from the
far bank of the Imjin between the Sachon and Han Rivers where the
enemy MLR was only a short distance from the sector held by the
1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion. Two enemy agents "armed with
pistols of German manufacture, six hand grenades, and one set of
field glasses" had been apprehended here by a Marine reconnais-
6 1/5 ComdD, May 52, p. 12.
HqBn, IstMarDiv ComdD, May 52, p. 27.
Operations in West Korea
sance company patrol. The prisoners had stated they were "part of a
force of one thousand men who were infiltrating to form a guerrilla
force somewhere in South Korea." 7 Six days later, after a brief fire
fight between a small group of Chinese and a Marine outpost in the
center of the division sector, the defenders discovered that two of the
three enemy dead wore under their own clothing various articles of
Marine uniforms. Neither of the Chinese had identification or any
papers whatsoever. It was believed that both were enemy agents and
that the attack on the outpost was a diversion "for the express pur-
pose of detracting attention from infiltrators." 8
Even though enemy tactics and attempts to penetrate Marine posi-
tions demonstrated a good deal of soldierly skills, his conduct of
defensive operations was nothing short of masterful. This was espe-
cially true of Chinese construction of underground earthworks. It
appeared that the Chinese had no single pattern for this type of field
fortification. Like the Japanese in World War II, the Chinese Com-
munists were experts in organizing the ground thoroughly and in
utilizing a seemingly inexhaustible supply of manpower to hollow
out tunnels, air-raid shelters, living quarters, storage spaces, and
mess halls. Americans described the Chinese as industrious diggers,
who excavated quickly and deeply for protection against UN bom-
bardments. From numerous reports of ground clashes in the 1st
Marine Division sector and from observations made by Marine pilots,
it became known that the enemy was quick to seek cover whenever
he was exposed to sustained artillery bombardment or air attack.
What was not known, however, was the extent of these subter-
ranean shelters. One Chinese account, allegedly written by a recon-
naissance staff officer named Li Yo-Yang, described the protection of
a CCF shelter to a recently captured UN prisoner as they were under
Allied artillery bombardment. While shells exploded all around
the position the enemy boasted: "There's no danger of being killed
on a position fortified by the Chinese People's Volunteers . . . Don't
8 IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52, p. 5.
"The Chinese attack by 'shovel' proved effective and difficult to combat. They bur-
rowed forward almost continuously, even under direct observation. Every foot of advance
provided added opportunity to attack Marine COPs with greater impunity. While this
activity possibly provided Marines with target practice in both small arms and mortars,
these CCF working parties in a narrow trench 7 to 10-feet deep probably took very
few casualties." Col William R. Watson, Jr. ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC,
dtd 18 July 67.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
you know it's impossible for your shells to penetrate our air-raid
shelters?" 10 An American report on enemy field fortifications esti-
mated that the amount of earth cover in Chinese air-raid shelters
was as high as 20 feet, and in frontline defensive positions, up to
33 feet. 11
Marine defensive installations carved out of the ground were not
so extensive as those of the enemy opposing JAMESTOWN. "In spite
of orders, instructions, and inspections many bunkers were only half
dug in, then built up above the ground with sandbags," observed
one Marine battalion commander. 12 Back in April, just after the
Marine division had settled in the west, its 1st Engineer Battalion,
using U.S. Army drawings, had published bunker construction plans.
Express instructions to frontline units were to "construct bunkers to
provide simultaneously living and fighting space. Overhead cover
on all bunkers will be such as to withstand direct hit from 105mm
and to allow friendly VT fire over position." 13
Some officers felt it was, perhaps, the work-during-light, patrol-at-
night routine that resulted in the shallow draft Marine bunkers.
Others suggested that the relatively limited defensive training
received by the more offensive-minded Marines created a natural
apathy to digging elaborate fighting positions.
It took a hole 12 feet square and 7 feet deep to house the Army,
Lincoln-logs-type bunker the Marines first used in the spring of
1952. The fortification, using tree trunks up to eight inches in diam-
eter, had a cover of seven to eight feet. This consisted of four feet
of logs, and three-to-four more feet of rocks, sandbags, and earth
fill. By the summer of 1952, the division developed its own style
of bunker, a prefabricated timber structure designed to fit into a hole
eight feet square and somewhat less than seven feet deep. This size
fortification could accommodate a .50 caliber machine gun, crew
members, or several riflemen. Provision was also made for the inclu-
sion of a sleeping shelf in the rear of the bunker. Its construction
required no saws, hammers, or nails, only shovels to excavate. The
10 A Volunteer Soldier's Day: Recollections by Men of the Chinese People's Vol-
unteers in the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea (Peking: Foreign Lan-
guages Press, 1961), p. 193, hereafter CPV, Recollections.
11 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, p. 8-90. „
12 LtCoi Roy J. Batterton, Jr., "Random Notes on Korea," Marine Corps Gazette,
v. 39, no. 11 (Nov 55), p. 29, hereafter Batterton, Korea Notes.
13 CO 5thMar msg to 5thMar units, dtd 20 Apr 52, in 5thMar ComdD, Apr 52, #2,
App. II, p. 6.
Operations in West Korea
major drawback to erection of the prefab was the difficulty in man-
handling the heavy roofing timbers, 11 feet long, 12 inches wide,
and 4 inches thick. On top of this was placed a two-foot layer of
sandbags, tarpaper covering, and a four feet high layer of earth
that completed the structure and partly camouflaged it.
Battlefield construction was carried out by the infantry regiments
to the limit of unit capabilities. The division engineers, one com-
pany per frontline regiment, augmented at times by shore party
units, supplied the technical know-how and engineering materials
and equipment. These combat support troops processed the lumber
for bunker construction and built fortifications for forward medical
treatment and one bunker for observation of battle action by civilian
and military dignitaries, irreverently called VIPs (Very Important
Persons), who frequently visited the division. Engineers also erected
some of the barbed wire barriers in the forward areas and, when
necessary, cleared firing lanes for weapons housed in bunkers.
The processing of timbers for easier and faster bunker-construction
had begun on 28 July, but this was hardly in time for the most diffi-
cult fighting the division had faced thus far in western Korea. Given
the name Bunker Hill, 14 this battle would take place in the center
sector of the division line manned since 27 July by Colonel Walter
F. Layer's 1st Marines. 15 On that date Lieutenant Colonel Armitage's
battalion, 3/1, took over from the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines on the
left, and 2/1 (Lieutenant Colonel Roy J. Batterton, Jr.) relieved the
2d Battalion of the 7th Marines on the right. 18
Across No-Man's-Land, units of two Chinese divisions faced the
3,603 men of the 1st Marines. From west to east opposite the Marine
regiment's frontline battalions were elements of the 580th Regiment,
194th Division, 65th CCF Army and of both the 352d and 354th
Regiments, 118th Division, 40th CCF Army. The 352d Regiment held
most of the area on which the battle would be fought. 17 Enemy com-
bat efficiency was rated as excellent and his forward units were well-
supplied. The Chinese conducted an active defense, using limited
14 Since bunkers were in everyone's mind and frontline units were heavily involved
in the bunker-construction program, it is felt likely "someone in G-2 arbitrarily as-
signed the name." Col Gerald T. Armitage ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd
6 July 67, hereafter Armitage ltr.
15 Two days earlier Colonel Layer had taken over the command from Colonel Flournoy.
10 Lieutenant Colonels Gerald F. Russell and Anthony Caputo, respectively, com-
manded 3/7 and 2/7 at this time.
17 IstMarDiv PIR 657, dtd 13 Aug 52.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
objective attacks, numerous small-size probes, and creeping tactics
to extend their OPLR line. Communist soldiers offered well-coordi-
nated and tenacious resistance to Marine patrols, raids, and attacks.
Within enemy lines a 775-foot elevation, known as Taedok-san, was
situated directly north of the Marine division center and commanded
the entire Bunker Hill area.
On Jamestown, the dominating height was Hill 201, 660 feet
high 18 and immediately to the rear of the MLR in the left battalion
sector. Southwest of this elevation was the Marine stronghold, Hill
229, just 23 feet lower than Taedok, and believed by the Marines to
have been the objective of the August battle. Directly north of Hill
201 was Hill 122, adjacent to the enemy OPLR, and called Bunker
Hill by the Marines. It was shortly to become the scene of bitter fight-
ing. The crest of Hill 122 was about -o 50 yards long. At a distance
of about 700 yards, it generally paralleled the northeast-southwest
direction of Jamestown in the left of the 2/1 sector and adjoining
Southwest of Bunker and a little more than 200 yards from the
Marine MLR was Hill 124. This Hill 124-122 axis, for tactical pur-
poses, was known as the Bunker Ridge. The ridgeline, roughly
"cashew" in shape almost anchored back into the MLR on the
forward slopes of Hill 229. To the northeast of Bunker Hill and sep-
arated from it by a wide saddle 19 was another enemy position, Hill
120. (See Map 9, for outposts and key hill positions in the 1st Marines
center regimental area in early August.)
Approximately one mile east of Hill 124 was Hill 56A, or Samoa,
the right flank limit of the immediate battlefield. It guarded the
best avenue of approach into the Bunker Hill area, the Changdan
Road. Another Marine position west of Samoa was Hill 58A, or
Siberia, a sentinel overlooking a long draw running down the east
sides of Hills 122 and 120. Both Samoa and Siberia were outposted
by squads. Another 1st Marines squad occupied Hill 52, on the other
side of Changdan Road and not quite a half-mile east of Samoa. The
entire battlefield was cut up by numerous gullies and draws, most
of which paralleled Bunker Hill.
18 Frequently cartographers use elevations for names of hills. Heights on the Korean
maps are in meters, and many of these hills derive their name (i.e., number) from their
elevation. For changing meters to feet, the conversion factor 3.28 is used.
19 A saddle, the low point in the crest line of a ridge, is much in appearance like
the side view of a riding saddle.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
Preliminary Action on Siberia 20
The first round in the battle of Bunker Hill began as the fight for
Siberia, Hill 58A. Just slightly more than a quarter of a mile from
jamestown, this squad-size outpost, the most western in the right
battalion sector, had been occupied in June when the division moved
its MLR forward. Since Siberia was located halfway between the
Marine MLR and the Communist OPLR, the Marine seizure of
Siberia prevented the Chinese from holding terrain suitable for em-
ploying 60mm mortars against Marine frontline troops. 21 Strong
enemy outposts on Hills 120 to the north and 110 to the northeast
constantly threatened the squad on 58A. From these two forward
positions, Chinese troops early on 9 August 1952 streamed down to
Siberia, launching in the process the Bunker Hill battle.
Just before 0100 an estimated four enemy squads fell upon Hill
58A, outposted by Company E Marines. Using assorted infantry
weapons, the raiding party forced the outnumbered Siberia occupants
to withdraw. By 0145 the outpost Marines returned to the MLR. At
this time the JAMESTOWN sector south of the outpost, also held by
Captain Jesse F. Thorpe's Company E, was under attack by approx-
mately 50 Chinese.
After breaking up the enemy assault by well placed friendly mor-
tar fire, the Marines enjoyed a brief respite from Chinese pressure
and formulated plans to recapture Siberia. It was decided that a
reinforced Company E platoon would counterattack to regain the
outpost. At 0355, the 11th Marines fired a five-minute preparation
against the objective. On schedule, the platoon crossed jamestown
at 0400 and in the darkness headed towards the outpost. Advancing
carefully to avoid detection as long as possible, the Marines reached
the area near the base of the hill by 0525. Heavy enemy artillery
and mortar fire again forced the Marines to withdraw, and the pla-
toon returned to its company CP at 0545. So far, the 58A action
had resulted in the wounding of 32 Marines and the killing of
It became evident that more preparation, by Marine air and artil-
20 Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdD, Aug 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnls, 9-11 Aug 52; IstMar, 1/1, 2/1, 3/1 ComdDs,
21 IstMarDiv ComdD, Aug 52, App. VII, p. 1.
Operations in West Korea
lery, would be required for the recapture of Siberia. At 0650, four
Marine F9F jet fighters worked the hill over with napalm and 500-
pound bombs. Three hours later, a flight of Air Force F-80 "Shooting
Star" jets dropped eight 1,000-pound bombs on the same target.
With the aerial attack complete, Marine artillery opened fire. Five
minutes later another Marine reinforced platoon launched a second
ground attack. This was made by a unit from Company A (Captain
Robert W. Judson) of the regimental reserve battalion, supported
by a Company E platoon. Again the Marines advanced to the open
sector south of the hill before the enemy reacted. As before, the
Chinese response was a devastating barrage from their supporting
weapons. The stubborn Marine assault against Siberia brought down
the full weight of Chinese firepower — rifle, machine gun, and hand
grenades — but the attack force would not be beaten off. At 1103
the Siberia hill again belonged to the Marines. Quickly the Company
A platoon began to organize a defense to repulse the Chinese
counterattack, which was certain to come.
In anticipation of a prompt and violent retaliation by the Chinese,
and to help the speedily improvised defense efforts, the 2/1 battalion
commander, Lieutenant Colonel Batterton, had sent forward the
supporting platoon from Company E. This reinforcing unit reached
Siberia within seven minutes after the Marine attackers had gained
possession of the objective. The new arrivals scarcely had time to
dig in before a hail of mortar and artillery shells forced all the
Marines to seek cover in a defiladed position on the southern side
of the slope. From here, the 2/1 force directed counter mortar and
artillery fire onto the top and far side of Siberia and unleashed their
own assault weapons against the Chinese soldiers pressing for pos-
session of Siberia. By midafternoon, with heavy enemy counterfire
on the position and their casualties reaching nearly 75 percent, the
Marines were forced to withdraw and return to their own lines.
The hill had changed hands twice and the enemy had employed
5,000 rounds of artillery in the contested ownership.
Badly mauled by two actions against Hill 58A, Company E came
off the lines to reorganize, exchanging positions with Company A,
of Lieutenant Colonel Louis N. King's 1st Battalion. About this
time Company C, less one platoon, had moved from the 1/1 rear
area forward to an assembly point behind 2/1 in preparation for a
night counterattack to retake the now battle-scarred outpost. With-
The Battle of Bunker Hill
out the customary artillery preparation, the attacking force at 2245
crossed the MLR at a point directly south of the former outpost
Samoa, which had been abandoned earlier when Siberia fell. Work-
ing their way northwest towards Siberia, the Company C Marines,
commanded by Captain Casimir C. Ksycewski, cautiously approached
the assault line. Reaching it at 0105 on 10 August the force deployed
immediately and rushed the objective.
At about this time the Chinese defenders opened fire but could
not halt the assaulting Marines. The struggle to regain the Siberia
objective was fierce; some of the Chinese refused to yield and fought
to their death. Most, however, held their defense positions only briefly
before retiring to the refuge offered by the reverse slope of the hill.
Gaining the crest of Hill 58A at 0116, the Company C commander
ordered a platoon to the other side of the objective to dispatch
remaining elements of the enemy force. The resulting fire fight
lasted nearly four hours. At daybreak, however, the enemy, in esti-
mated company strength, strenuously renewed his counterfire and,
for a third time, forced the 1st Marines to retire from the disputed
hill and return to the main line.
Later that day, at the regimental CP, Colonel Layer called a staff
conference to decide on the best course of action. Successive Marine
withdrawals had been caused by the intense enemy shelling. The key
to its effectiveness was the observation provided the Chinese from
Hills 122 and 110. Heavy enemy fire had also caused most of the
casualties, 17 killed and 243 wounded, in 1st Marine ranks. It was
decided to shift the battle area to better restrict this enemy capability
not only to observe Marine troop movements but also to call down
accurate fire on friendly attacking units. Bunker Hill, an enemy out-
post west of Siberia, was selected. In the eyes of 1st Marines tacti-
cians, possession of Hill 122 instead of Hill 58A presented three
Hill 122 offered excellent observation into the rear of enemy
Possession of Hill 122 would greatly strengthen the MLR in the
regimental sector, effectively neutralize Siberia, provide domin-
ating terrain that was more defensible than 58 A; and
Bunker offered an excellent opportunity for an attack employing
the element of surprise against the enemy.
Operations in West Korea
To help preserve this tactical surprise, the plan for the Bunker Hill
attack included a diversionary attack against Siberia. Making this
secondary effort would be a reinforced rifle platoon and a composite
unit of gun and flame tanks. For the main attack, Lieutenant Colonel
Batterton's 2d Battalion would employ a reinforced rifle company
with supporting artillery and armor, if needed. The operation was
to be conducted at night, to further ensure the opportunity for tacti-
cal surprise. For the same reason, the attack was not to be preceded
by artillery preparation on either objective. To the right of the 1st
Marines, however, Colonel Culhane's 5th Marines would support
the diversion by artillery and tank fire placed on enemy strongpoints
in the Ungok area, about IV4 miles northeast of Siberia. During
daylight, air, artillery, and tanks attacked targets on both 122 and
58 A. Priority of effort in the 1st Marines area went to units prepar-
ing for the Siberia-Bunker offensive.
The Attack on Bunker Hill 22
At dusk on 11 August, 1,000 yards behind the MLR in the western
sector of the 2/1 line, the eight Company C tanks that were to
provide much of the diversionary effort at Hill 58A moved out of
their assembly area. Leading the column east of the MSR, Changdan
Road, were four M-46 mediums, mounting 90mm guns. They were
followed by an equal number of flame vehicles. Each M-46 was
specially equipped with an 18-inch fighting light, actually a search-
light with a shutter over the lens, to be used for battlefield illumina-
tion. The flame vehicles, World War II M4A3E8 mediums, mounted
a 105mm howitzer in addition to the flame tube. As the tanks
reached the Changdan Road, they turned north, crossed the MLR,
and proceeded to preselected positions. (See Map 10.)
When the M-46 gun tanks were in position to fire on Siberia and
its flanks, their powerful 90s opened up on the objective. At this
time, 2110, the first section of flames (two tanks) made its way
22 Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section is derived from: Encl (1) to
CG, FMFPac ltr 0762/161 over A9 to CMC, dtd 25 Nov 52, Subj: "Summary of
IstMarDiv Sit from 20 July-20 Oct 52," hereafter FMFPac, IstMarDiv Sum, Jul-Oct
52; IstMarDiv, lstMar, 2/1, 1st TkBn ComdDs, Aug 52.
Operations in West Korea
along the stream bed between the MLR and Hill 56A (Samoa).
Lighting their way with very short bursts of flame, the two tanks
advanced in this manner to the base of Hill 58A. There the vehicles
paused momentarily, then began to move up the near slope, using
longer spurts of flame to sear the ground and sparse vegetation to
the crest of the position. The gun tanks, in the meantime, had shifted
their fire from Siberia northeast to neutralize Hill 110. When the
flame vehicles reached the top of Siberia, they lumbered down the
far slope, firing then in shorter bursts and sweeping the area with
machine guns to discourage any enemy infantry interference.
With some fuel reserved to light their way on the return trip,
the flame section reversed its course from the far side of the objec-
tive, mounted the crest, and clanked back to the Changdan Road.
When the first section had returned, the second departed, completing
its mission in much the same manner. Tank personnel of both groups
observed that the enemy artillery and mortar fire was medium to
heavy on Siberia. Some rifle fire was also received. Gun tanks, firing
from Changdan Road east of Siberia, experienced less fire from the
Although the flame vehicles had completed their mission and were
on their way home, the M-46s remained on position in support of
the 3d Platoon, Company D which, at 2230, was advancing from
the MLR to complete the infantry part of the diversion. Staying out
of the low ground that the tanks had used, the platoon swept over
Hill 56A at 2255 and immediately struck out for the further objec-
tive, Hill 58A. Gun tanks firing their 90s on the Chinese OPLR on
Hill 110 and on Siberia illuminated the target area with their fight-
ing lights, the shutter of which the tankers flicked open and closed
during each five-second interval that the light remained on.
Less than an hour after crossing jamestown, the platoon from
Captain George W. Campbell's Company D reported the capture
of Siberia. The enemy quickly made his presence felt at the objective;
a half hour before midnight, he assaulted the hill in reinforced
platoon strength. Ten minutes later the Chinese withdrew and the
Company D Marines, in accordance with their battle plan, did
likewise. At about the same time the 5th Marines, having completed
its part in the diversion, also secured from the operation.
Ten minutes after the diversionary infantry had cleared Samoa
while enroute to Siberia, the main attack force, Company B, which
The Battle of Bunker Hill
had come under operational control of 2/1 at 1800, crossed the
MLR, the line of departure. Moving at a fast pace to preserve the
element of anticipated surprise, the attack force, commanded by
Captain Sereno S. Scranton, Jr., soon deployed two squads of the
lead platoon against the near side of the hill. By 2318 on 11 August
the squads were moving up Bunker Hill and, 10 minutes later, one
platoon had gained the top of the objective and one was at the base
of the hill, both moving northward along the forward slope. As the
advancing units neared the end of their sweep forward, they began
to come under small amounts of rifle fire from the front and left
flank of the position. 23 The Company B platoons continued to ad-
vance, returning well-placed small arms fire.
Soon the intensity of Chinese small arms fire increased; at the
same time enemy mortars and artillery opened up on the company.
Marines attempting to assault the top of Hill 122 also came under
a hail of hand grenades hurled by the staunch Chinese defenders.
After a brief but vicious fight at point-blank range, the Chinese
gave ground on the eastern side, heading uphill. Several Marines
pursued the fleeing enemy to the summit, then joined the rest of the
assault units of Company B in organizing a defense. By 0300, 12
August the battle had quieted down and for a short while all firing
ceased. Then, as the Marines began to dig in, a bypassed pocket of
enemy resistance came to life. Two fire teams in the 1st Platoon took
these Chinese Communists under fire.
Even as the fighting continued, Marines and KSC personnel
were hauling fortification materials towards Bunker to consolidate
the precarious foothold. For a while, enemy mortars unleashed a
heavy fire against the newly won position, but by 0230 Company B
was able to report that enemy shelling had stopped and that the
objective was in friendly hands. A new fire fight broke out at 0345
between a small force of enemy soldiers occupying a draw forward
of Bunker Hill and Marines nearby. The exchange of fire continued
for nearly two hours, but short of harassing the Marines on Bunker
Hill the enemy did not launch a counterattack. Dawn on 12 August
23 Recalling the Marine seizure of Bunker, the G-3, IstMarDiv at that time expressed
the view that "taking these places was easy but holding them under heavy Chinese
artillery and mortar fire was extremely costly. Our counterbattery fire was ineffective
because we were limited to from one to eight rounds per tube per day, depending on
the weapon, by Army order, because of an ammunition shortage." Col Russell E. Hon-
sowetz MS comments, dtd 15 Jun 67, hereafter Honsowetz Itr II.
Operations in West Korea
revealed that thus far in the Bunker Hill fighting 1 Marine of Com-
pany B had been killed and 22 were wounded. The earlier diver-
sionary attack on Siberia had resulted in only one Marine casualty,
the wounding of the platoon commander, Second Lieutenant James
Personnel losses were kept to a minimum by the well-organized
medical support and the efficient service of medical and evacuation
personnel. A forward aid station was established in the vicinity of
the Company E CP. Casualties that were not ambulatory arrived
at this two-bunker installation usually by hand litter, other wounded
men were transported in armored personnel carriers, U.S. Army
tracked vehicles similar in appearance to the Marine LVT, that had
accompanied the diversionary unit and were part of the Panmunjom
rescue force stationed in the area of COP 2 on the 3/1 left flank.
Wounded Marines were examined immediately. Minor injury cases
were treated and discharged; more seriously injured personnel were
given emergency treatment and evacuated. Movement to the rear
was accomplished by ambulance jeeps. Helicopters, landing only
30 yards from the station, flew out the critically wounded. A sand-
bag-protected squad tent was used to house casualties waiting to be
examined. This emergency aid station closed down on 13 August,
when action in the right battalion sector diminished.
Even though the remainder of the morning of 12 August was
practically free of any retaliatory attempts by the Chinese against
Bunker Hill, the Marines occupying the new position were not
idle, for they anticipated an immediate and severe reaction for cap-
turing the hill. Quickly, but methodically, the company dug in. At
noon, regiment passed to 3/1 24 the responsibility for Bunker Hill
and operational control of Company B. Consolidation of Hill 122
continued until about 1500, when the Marines were forced to put
down their entrenching tools and grab their rifles instead. The
Chinese had suddenly launched an intense mortar and artillery attack
against the hill. Defending Marines expected to see enemy soldiers
start up the western slopes at any minute.
Actually, more than an hour elapsed before the Communists
initiated their first main ground attack to regain Bunker. By that
- 4 Initially the diversionary attack against Siberia and subsequent assault against
Bunker had been made by Marines of 2/1 since Siberia was in the 2/1 sector. On 12
August operational control was transferred to 3/ 1 as the fighting continued at Bunker,
in the area of responsibility of the left battalion sector.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
time, heavy casualties from the continued shelling had forced Com-
pany B to pull back from the ridge and take up positions on the
reverse (eastern) slope of Bunker Hill. At this point, with reduced
Company B forces and with no radio communication between Cap-
tain Scranton's unit and 3/1, Lieutenant Colonel Armitage sent
1/3/1, 25 under Captain Howard J. Connolly, forward from the
MLR. Shortly before 1600, a force of more than 350 Chinese lunged
out of the low ground of Hill 123, west of Bunker, to attack defen-
sive positions along the ridge between Hills 124-122. Striking in
rapid succession first the west side and then the northern end of the
Company B position to find a weak spot in the defense, the enemy
counterattack finally concentrated on the southwestern part of the
An intense exchange of fire raged here until 1715, when the
defending fire of Company B plus the added weight of the Company
I reinforcements combined to stall the enemy advance. Having failed
to gain their objective, the Communists abruptly broke off their
artillery and mortar fire and ordered their infantry to withdraw.
They pulled back only to the far side of the hill, however. By 1740
the enemy was occupying his new post on the northern slope, while
the Marines continued to hold their positions on the reverse slope of
Bunker Ridge. Enemy supporting fires had lifted and a lull ensued
in the fighting.
Consolidating the Defense of Bunker Hill 20
Even before the Chinese had made their coordinated attack against
Hill 122 in the midafternoon of the 12th, the 1st Marines had
implemented a plan of action to assure that the critical position
would remain in Marine hands. In addition to the movement of
Company I/3/l to reinforce Bunker Hill and of Company 1/3/7 as
its relief on the MLR, a precautionary displacement was also made
of the 3/1 reconnaissance platoon to Hill 124 to tie in that terrain
25 From the division reserve, Captain Anthony J. Skotnicki's company, 1/3/7, was en
route to take over the 1/3/1 sector. As an interim measure, >Captain Byron J. Melan-
con's Company H extended its MLR positions to the right to cover the Company I area.
20 Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdD, Aug 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, 12-13 Aug 52; IstMar, l/l, 3/1 ComdDs,
The Battle of Bunker Hill
feature with both Bunker and Jamestown and thus consolidate
the defense north of the MLR and west of Bunker. (See Map 11.)
Other activities behind the line aimed at making the Marine
position on the newly seized hill more tenable. As one step in this
direction, General Selden shifted most of his reserve into the zone
of action. Before the end of the day remaining units of 3/7 were
placed under operational control of 3/1, and 2/7 was attached to
Colonel Layer's reserve. The 7th Marines was directed to place its
4.2-inch mortars on call to the 1st Marines. Priority of artillery
support went to the Bunker Hill regiment. Within the 1st Marines,
the regimental commander moved two provisional platoons (118
Marines) of the reserve 1st Battalion to the 3d Battalion sector. All
81mm mortars in l/l were sent to the left battalion. The fire plan
also called for employment of all the 60mm mortars that could bear
on the crest of 124-122, with 81mm and artillery box-me-in barrage
fires on the ridge and flanks.
Machine guns from the MLR were assigned missions on the crest
of Bunker Ridge and 4.5-inch ripples were planned on the deep
enemy approaches. Gun and flame tanks were to protect the right
flank of Hill 122 where the steep draw between Bunker and the MLR
offered the most dangerous approach into Bunker Hill. Supplies and
fortification materials, meanwhile, were being carried forward and
casualties taken to the rear by the relief party. Although 3/1 initially
reported that the Bunker Hill fighting had resulted in 58 killed or
wounded Marines, a later battalion count showed this number to be
34—5 killed and 29 wounded.
Most of the casualties had been caused by hostile shelling.
Although the Hill 122 reverse slope afforded some cover from the
Chinese artillery and mortars, the positions on the crest did not offer
any protection, so Marines continued their trenchworks and other
defensive preparations at a rapid pace and supporting fires were
registered by 1900. The approach of night was certain to bring
renewed Communist attempts to capture Bunker Hill.
At 2000, Lieutenant Colonel Armitage reported to division that
his force on Hill 122 occupied the entire reverse slope and that the
Marine of 1/3/1 and B/l/1 were digging in and consolidating
their scant defenses. Enemy shells were still falling on both Bunker
and Hill 124. Company commanders forward of the MLR estimated
that as many as 400 Chinese occupied the ridge on the other side
Operations in West Korea
of the slope from the Marines. Since the crest of the long Hill 124-
122 ridgeline was fairly level, the gentle incline of the Bunker rear
slope permitted defending Marine units excellent fields of fire to the
ridge crest, a major consideration in the 3/1 battalion commander's
decision to adopt a rear slope defense. Moreover, the top of the
ridge could be swept with direct fire from the MLR as well as sup-
porting weapons from the two nearest companies on JAMESTOWN.
Opposing Marine and Chinese forces were thus lined up for a con-
tinuation of the battle for Bunker Hill.
It appeared that the Chinese wished to attempt a diversionary
tactic of their own. To draw attention away from Hill 122 they
engaged a Marine outpost east of Bunker and a KMC ambush far
to the left before attacking Bunker again. In the KMC sector,
shortly after 2300, an enemy infantry platoon walked into a trap
near the eastern edge of the Sachon and 500 yards south of the
Munsan-ni-Kaesong rail line. The brief fire fight lasted only 10
minutes before the Chinese broke contact.
Perhaps the ambush was incidental to the forthcoming attack
against the Bunker complex, but this same reasoning cannot be
applied to the Communist-inspired action which broke out shortly
at Hill 48A, Stromboli, another friendly outpost far to the east of
Hill 122. Near the right limiting point of Colonel Layer's 1st
Marines and the 5th Marines boundary, Stromboli was another
Marine fire-team-by-day, squad-by-night position. It occupied a small
rise 250 yards forward of the MLR and commanded the immediate
sector in all directions. The entire MLR in the regimental right was
dominated by the enemy-held Hill 104, a half-mile north of 48A.
Communist infantry opened the attack without benefit of any
supporting arms preparation and rushed to seize Hill 48A early on
the morning of 13 August, a few minutes after midnight. Defend-
ing Marines immediately responded with small arms and automatic
weapons fire. By the time the outpost commander had informed
battalion of the attack by radio, the far right sector of the 1st
Marines line, held by Captain Clarence G. Moody, Jr.'s Company
F, had also come under attack. Firing rifles and submachine guns and
hurling hand grenades as they assaulted the main position, the
Chinese attempted to penetrate the jamestown defenses. In spite
of the enemy's concerted efforts, the Marine line remained staunch.
At Stromboli, the Communists met with no greater success,
The Battle of Bunker Hill
although they did cause enough casualties to warrant the dispatch
of a Company F reinforcing squad. When this unit left the MLR,
at 0106 on 13 August, the Marine line was still under a heavy
attack not only from Chinese infantry but from hostile artillery and
mortars as well. Out at Hill 48A the outpost remained in com-
parative quiet until the approach of the reinforcing party. As the
Company F squad neared the base of the hill, Chinese infantry that
earlier had been assaulting the Marine MLR turned their rifle and
machine gun fire from positions on the Jamestown side of the
outpost. A heavy rain of devastating mortar fire engulfed the rein-
forcing Marines. On order, they broke off the approach march and
returned to the company rear area.
On the main line, meanwhile, Company F positions were still
being bombarded by Chinese artillery and assaulted by their infantry.
Casualties along the entire line forced Lieutenant Colonel Batterton
to order his 1st Provisional Platoon, Headquarters and Service Com-
pany, 2/1, to the Company F command post. After the clutch unit
departed the battalion area, at 0210, and approached Captain
Moody's CP, enemy fires immediately intensified. A violent fight
erupted to the left of the Company F sector, but the Marines there
held. The Chinese then tried to punch holes in other parts of the
company line, moving eastward along jamestown. Each failure
to breach the line seemed to signal a decrease in the intensity of
This easing of Communist pressure against the main line enabled
the Company F commander to put into operation a new attempt at
the reinforcement and rescue of Stromboli. After the initial enemy
assault in the early hours of 13 August had ended in failure, the
Chinese made repeated attempts to capture the outpost. At one
time it appeared that a company of Chinese had overrun the hill.
Later, however, the Stromboli stronghold radioed that the enemy
force, subsequently identified as only a platoon, had encircled the
Marine position. To relieve enemy pressure at Hill 48A, Captain
Moody employed a rifle platoon which set out for the outpost at
Simultaneously, as if their intelligence had advance knowledge of
the 1st Marines recovery plan, the Chinese stepped up the tempo of
their attack at Stromboli. A fresh assault by the enemy was stymied
by Marine superiority in hand-to-hand combat. Thereafter, close-in
Operations in West Korea
defensive fires continued to ring the outpost and to discourage future
assaults. The approach of the second Marine rescue party eliminated
much of the pressure that Communist foot soldiers had maintained
around the hill position. After a 90-minute exchange of fire with
the enemy, the friendly platoon penetrated the encirclement and
rushed to the besieged outpost at the hill crest. At this point the
Chinese disengaged and withdrew towards the north.
After their diversion against Stromboli had approached the
proportions of a full-scale attack, with the enemy having reinforced
from platoon to company size, the Chinese then initiated their main
thrust, an attempt to retake Bunker. Captain Connolly (1/3/1) had
reported that shortly before 0100 Communist mortar fire had begun
falling on his positions on the southern slope of Bunker Hill. Simul-
taneously, Chinese artillery stepped up the rate of its barrage fires
as did the assaulting close-in enemy infantry. Captain Connolly
then requested the 11th Marines to place box-me-in fires around the
Marine company positions on Hill 122. Artillery furnished these
defensive fires almost immediately.
Shortly after 0130, the Marines in the center and right of the
1/3/1 position observed a large number of Chinese, deployed into
a skirmish line, headed directly for their part of the hill. The attack
was accompanied by intense machine gun and rifle fire. It was
countered by an equally heavy reply from Marines on Bunker. For
nearly four hours the battle raged at Hill 122. Unsuccessful enemy
frontal assaults were followed by attempts to dislodge the defenders
from the rear. In their continuing thrust against the hill, the Chinese
were repulsed by Marine coordinated support fires — tank, rocket,
artillery, and mortar.
By firing on known or suspected assembly areas and Chinese
infantry units advancing up the draws towards Hill 122, these
Marine supporting weapons helped to preserve the status quo at
Bunker. Repeated box-me-ins were also fired by the 11th Marines
during the early-morning Communist attacks on 13 August. Explod-
ing friendly mortar shells increased the effectiveness of the hill
defense; nine rocket ripples 27 fired by the artillery regiment further
supported Marines at the critical terrain position. Tanks unleashed
27 A characteristic of 4.5-inch rocket launcher is the discharge of 24 rounds in quick
succession, called a ripple. A battery of six launchers can fire 144 rounds on target in
less than a minute.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
their deadly fire on nearby enemy outposts to neutralize them; their
90mm guns, aided by the battlefield illumination from tank fighting
lights, helped eliminate Chinese foot soldiers attempting to envelop
Marine positions on Bunker.
It was in this direction that an enemy force, estimated at rein-
forced battalion strength, headed during the early morning fighting
on Hill 122. At 0330, the struggle for possession of the height had
reached the climax. For an hour the issue remained in doubt. Then,
as the Chinese small arms fire decreased, the tempo of the enemy's
artillery shelling increased. This, the division correctly deduced,
announced the beginning of a temporary Communist withdrawal
from Bunker Hill.
Although the immediate danger of the enemy onslaught had ended
for the time being, Marines to the rear of the jamestown Line
stepped up their defensive preparations. Division, regimental, and
battalion operational plans were put into effect to prevent a Chinese
victory. The seriousness of the situation on the 1st Marines right flank
at Stromboli early on 13 August had resulted in the movement of one
company of 5th Marines into blocking positions behind the MLR
near the left regimental boundary. To the south of Bunker Hill,
relief and replacement units from the division reserve, ordered into
action late the previous day, maneuvered into position to strengthen
the regimental front. One of these relief units, G/3/7, under
command of Captain William M. Vanzuyen, had just deployed from
its assembly area to pass through the ranks of an MLR company
and take over the Bunker Hill positions. The Marines' situation on
Hill 122 had deteriorated so rapidly, however, that the 3/1 com-
mander rushed two reinforced squads forward from 1/3/7, the
nearest MLR unit.
The Company G reinforcement unit jumped off from Jamestown
and arrived at Bunker shortly after sunup, where it reinforced
Captain Connolly's positions during the height of the battle for
possession of Hill 122. Not long after, the Chinese initiated their
withdrawal under cover of increased artillery and mortar barrages.
As they left, the Communists policed the battlefield in their typically
thorough manner. A Marine platoon that swept the northern slope
of Bunker failed to find any enemy bodies in this area so recently
abandoned by the Chinese, but did take under fire and kill seven
enemy that had remained on Hill 122.
Operations in West Korea
Before I/3/l had sent one of its platoons to reconnoiter the far
side of Bunker Hill, Lieutenant Colonel Armitage ordered H/3/7,
under Captain John G. Demas, forward to relieve friendly forces at
the contested height. The exchange of units was completed before
noon of the 13th. By Late afternoon, except for Company H, all
2d and 3d Battalions, 7th Marines units that had moved up to
reinforce the 1st Marines were on their way back to the regimental
reserve area. At this time the 1st Marines CO, Colonel Layer,
reported to General Selden that the Bunker Hill action during 12-13
August had resulted in 24 Marines killed and 214 wounded. On the
right, in the 2d Battalion sector, an additional 40 Marines were
listed as casualties, including 7 killed in the Stromboli defense.
Chinese known dead numbered 210, plus an estimated 470 killed and
625 wounded. 28 Artillery and aerial observers reported that between
1500 on the 12th and 0600 the following morning an estimated
5,000 to 10,000 rounds of enemy fire had fallen on 1st Marines
positions, the "heaviest incoming fires received by the Division since
coming into the present sector." 29
The number of casualties from the Bunker Hill action was to
increase further that same day with a renewed attack on the outpost.
Before the Chinese again engaged Hill 122, however, they made a
diversionary attack on the western flank at the extreme left of the
3/1 sector. At dusk on 13 August, the enemy shelled the Company
G Marines at COP 2, the critical height overlooking the Panmunjom
peace corridor. The shelling caused several casualties and lasted 90
minutes. Towards the end, Communist infantrymen moved forward
and fired on the outpost. At about the same time, Company H
personnel emplaced on the MLR to the rear of COP 2 began to
receive artillery rounds in preassault proportions.
A ground attack in this western end of the 3/1 sector did not
materialize, however. Instead, the Chinese resumed their attack on
Bunker Hill. Since their temporary withdrawal early on the 13th,
the CCF had repeatedly sent mortar and artillery barrages against
the bastion to harass its new occupants. On occasion these well-
aimed mortar rounds found their mark. Mortars interdicting a trail
used for resupply of the Hill 122 defenders did inflict some casual-
- s IstMarDiv PIR 658, dtd 14 Aug 52.
- a Selden, Dh Staff Rpt, p. 19.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
ties on two groups rushing emergency supplies forward from the
At 2100, while continuing his shelling of the left end of the 3/1
sector, the enemy lifted his preparation on Hill 122 to permit a
CCF reinforced company to make a new assault there on the Marine
defenders. Captain Demas called for box-me-ins to seal off his
positions and illumination shells to help locate the enemy force.
Utilizing the draw to the east of Hill 58A, the Chinese proceeded
west to Bunker where they pitted one platoon against the center of
the Company H, 3/7 line and another against the right flank.
Defensive fires momentarily held off the intruders, although some
were able to break through to the Marines' fighting positions.
Those enemy troops who penetrated the Marine defenses were
quickly eliminated by grenades and small arms fire. Unable to
weaken the Marine defenses any further and by now sustaining siz-
able casualties from unrelenting Marine artillery and mortar con-
centrations, the Communists withdrew at 2215. Marine defenders
estimated they had killed 175 enemy during this latest encounter;
a firm count of 20 bodies were found on the shell-torn slopes. Com-
pany H casualties, all from enemy mortar and artillery fire, were 7
killed and 21 wounded. 1 ' Enemy incoming was again heavy during
this period, with a reported 3,000 rounds falling in the sector.
In the 3d Battalion sector, Marine and KSC stretcher bearers
brought casualties to the 1/3/1 CP, several hundred yards to the
rear of the front line. At the command post, the critically wounded
were airlifted by helicopter to the rear. Less seriously wounded
casualties were placed in jeep ambulances and carried to the battalion
forward aid station, about two miles away. Here a team of doctors
and corpsmen examined and treated patients, discharged a few,
but prepared most for further evacuation. At the 1st Marines for-
ward aid station, patients were reexamined and their wounds
redressed when required; discharge or further evacuation was also
accomplished. Most of the Marines brought to this forward facility
30 During the fighting on the 13th, Hospitalman John E. Kilmer was mortally
wounded while "administering aid to the wounded and expediting their evacuation."
Though wounded by enemy mortars, he continued his life-saving efforts until another
barrage took his life. He had died shielding a wounded Marine undergoing emergency
treatment. Hospitalman Kilmer, a distant cousin of poet Joyce Kilmer, became the first
of four corpsmen serving with the 1st Marine Division to be awarded the Medal of
Honor during the trench warfare in western Korea.
Operations in West Korea
had become exhausted from vigorous activity in the high temperature
and humidity which characterized the South Korean summer. The
regimental aid station treated these heat cases and then released
them to their units.
Company B Returns to Bunker Hill 31
Division intelligence subsequently reported that the 2100 attack on
13 August had been made by an enemy battalion with a reinforced
company in assault. This same unit again sent a small band of
Chinese soldiers against Hill 122 at 0225 the following morning. This
clash was to be the briefest of all offensives for control of Bunker
Hill during the 11-17 August period. Prior to launching this four-
minute fire fight, an enemy machine gun at Siberia had attempted
to harass the Marines at Bunker Hill. In retaliation, Marine tanks
illuminated this enemy weapon with their searchlights and immedi-
ately took it under fire with their 90mm guns, knocking it out of
action. At the same time, enemy artillery attempted to shell friendly
tanks. During this brief fire exchange, one tanker was wounded
slightly and the lens of one fighting light was splintered by frag-
ments from enemy shells bursting around the tanks. The inconse-
quential probe was made, Marines believed, not so much to seriously
challenge Marines holding Hill 122 as it was to retrieve CCF dead
and wounded from the major attack a few hours earlier that night.
Anticipating that a much heavier ground attack was close at hand,
the 1st Marines ordered a reinforcement of the Bunker Hill position.
Even before the heavy action on the 13th, this machinery had been
set in motion. To this end, the 3d Battalion was to reinforce the
Bunker defense by sending a 1/1 platoon to the hill and the 2d
Battalion was instructed to return Company A (minus this platoon)
to the reserve battalion. At 0415 on the 14th, Company E/2/1, led
since 10 August by Captain Stanley T. Moak, took over from
A/1/1 the responsibility for the 2d Battalion's MLR "Siberia sector,"
adjacent to the Bunker Hill area held by the 3d Battalion. The Com-
pany A reinforcing platoon arrived at Hill 122 just before dusk,
31 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from-. IstMarDiv,
IstMar, 3/1, 1st TkBn ComdDs, Aug 52.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
preceding another CCF company attack by only a few hours.
At midnight the 1st Marines front was suspiciously quiet for a
few minutes. Forward on Hill 122, there was no apparent enemy
activity. Captain Demas sent out a two fire-team patrol from Bunker
to reconnoiter northwest of Bunker towards the Chinese lines.
Shortly after the eight Marines returned with a negative report of
contact with the enemy, the regiment received a report about the
outbreak of a small arms clash between defenders on the left flank
of Bunker and an enemy unit farther west. At 0118 on 15 August
what had initially appeared to be a minor contest suddenly erupted
into a heated fire fight all along the 124-122 Bunker Ridge complex.
At the request of Captain Dumas, Marine artillery fired protective
boxes around the Bunker positions. This defensive maneuver held
the attackers in check.
At this moment, Chinese infantrymen in the draw running along-
side the 124-122-120 ridge system were massed for an assault
on Bunker from the northeast. The plan might have been successful
had not a fighting light from a tank on the main line intercepted
the Communists in this state of their preparations. In a matter of
moments, friendly artillery, mortar, and tank fire struck the Chinese
and scattered the formation.
After discovering he could not successfully pull a sneak attack,
the enemy reverted to his usual procedure, employing a preassault
bombardment prior to his infantry assault. This preparation began
at 0206; it reached the rate of approximately 100 rounds of 82 and
122mm mortar shells per minute. While supporting weapons
pounded the Marines, the Chinese assault commander reorganized
his attack force that the Marine shelling had scattered. Communist
infantry then moved forward and fired on the Bunker Marines, who
replied with rifles and machine guns and box-me-in fires. Unable to
penetrate this protective mask around the positions, the Chinese
gradually decreased their small arms and artillery fire until, at 0315,
the rate of exploding shells at Hill 122 had dropped to only four
or five per minute. Soon thereafter the small arms fire slacked off
entirely and by 0400 even the mortars had stopped. Across the entire
1st Marines front, all was quiet again.
During the Company H defense of the hill, enemy losses, caused
mostly by friendly artillery and mortar fire, were placed at 350,
including 40 counted dead. Captain Demas' Marines suffered 35
Operations in West Korea
casualties, of whom 7 were killed. En route to the MLR after relief
by B/3/1, the company suffered four more casualties, including two
KIAs, all the victims of Chinese mortars.
It was not long before these weapons inflicted casualties on Com-
pany B, which had six of its men wounded even before the H/3/7
unit had reached JAMESTOWN. Another Marine at Bunker was
wounded by enemy mortars later that morning. At 1640 the Com-
munists again probed Bunker Hill, this time in company strength.
Striking in daylight during a thunderstorm and without any prepara-
tory fires, the Chinese attackers failed to achieve any tactical surprise.
The defenders fired both infantry and supporting weapons; some
threw grenades at the few Communists who did manage to get close
to the fighting positions. At 1750, the Chinese withdrew, this time
leaving 35 of their dead in the attack area. Four Marines had been
wounded; five others suffering from battle fatigue were later
Exactly when the enemy would strike next at Bunker Hill was not
known by the Marines. Most believed that the Communists would
return but only speculated as to when. Although the battalion felt
that "the enemy was not expected to attack again for some time," 32
events were to prove otherwise, In any case, the battalion was pre-
pared, having an adequate force on Bunker and sufficient local
reserves to absorb an attack up to the strength of any received so far.
Division supporting arms were readily available for commitment at
The Chinese soon put an end to the conjecture about the next
attack. At 0040, 16 August, an enemy force, later estimated as a
battalion, came out of positions to the west and north of Hill 122.
Supported by mortars at first, and later on by artillery, the battalion
sent one company against the Marine outpost. Several attacking ele-
ments were able to penetrate the defensive fires. These Chinese
reached the crest of the hill and began using their rifles, automatic
weapons, and hand grenades against the defenders. Captain Scranton
called for reinforcements. A platoon from 1/3/7 was dispatched
promptly from the 3/1 sector. The reinforcements departed james-
town just as the fire fight on Bunker began to subside. By 0315, the
enemy had begun his withdrawal, and another reinforcing element,
32 3/1 ComdD, Aug 52, p. 4.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
1/3/1, had moved forward; this time from regiment to Lieutenant
Colonel Armitage's CP.
About two hours later a brief fire fight flared up in the Company
B sector. No ground assault was made on Marine positions. The
enemy force, of undertermined strength, never closed with the
Marines and within 10 minutes, the firing stopped. No casualties to
the Marines resulted during this exchange. The earlier clash had
resulted in the death of 3 Marines and the wounding of 27. Enemy
losses were estimated at 40 killed and 30 wounded.
Before it came off the hill, Company B was engaged by enemy
fire three more times. At 1945, Chinese mortars (82mm) wounded
two Marines. Later, heavier mortars placed 20 rounds on Hill 122,
but these caused no casualties. There were some losses, however,
early on the morning of the 17th when C/l/1 was relieving the
Bunker defenders. Captain Scranton's Marines sustained five more
wounded from automatic weapons, five during the relief.
The second relief of Company B on Bunker brought to a close
the battle that had been waged for possession of the vital hill com-
plex. During the Hill 122 tours of Company C and other 1st Marines
units that followed in August, seven more ground actions tested the
Bunker Hill defenses. Only one of them, during the night of 25-26
August, was of significant size. This attack also failed to dislodge
the Marines from the hill.
Supporting Arms at Bunker Hill 39
It was quite natural that the flurry of ground activity during the
battle of Bunker Hill created a need for increased participation from
Marine supporting arms. The magnitude of infantry action during
the contest for Hill 122 resulted in a monthly record to date in 1952
for the amount of air support received as well as the volume of both
artillery and tank fires supporting the division. During this critical
9-1 6 August period, the 11th Marines played a part in every ground
action except the feint attack on Siberia and the seizure of Bunker
Hill, both of which were purposely executed without an artillery
preparation. Medium tanks fired day and night missions during
33 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFU EvalRpt
No. 5, Chaps. 8, 9; IstMarDiv ComdD, Aug 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnls, 4-16 Aug 52;
1st Mar, 1st TkBn ComdDs, Aug 52; MAGs-12, -33 ComdDs, Aug 52.
Operations in West Korea
most of the infantry action. Close air support at times amounted to a
strike every 20 minutes.
During the ground action around Bunker, Siberia, and Stromboli,
the division received close air support in amounts unparalleled for
jamestown Marines to that time. Marine and U.S. Air Force pilots
flew a total of 458 missions (including 27 ground controlled MPQ-
14 radar bombing attacks) during five of the most critical days,
9-13 August. On two of them, the 1st Marine Division received
priority of close air support along the whole EUSAK front. Fifth Air
Force assigned 1st MAW aircraft to Marine requests for close air
support as long as Marine aircraft were available.
The initial air strike by Marines in the Bunker fighting was on
9 August in support of counterattack plans for Siberia. MAG-33
provided a morning and evening flight of four F9F jet fighters to
destroy enemy forces and defensive works on 58A (Siberia).
USAF fighter-bombers attacked Siberia and other outposts nearby
and enemy artillery positions supporting the Chinese forward line.
On the next day, air operations, concentrating on Siberia, were
stepped up considerably against enemy outposts. Thirty-five aircraft
in nine missions attacked 58A with bombs, rockets, and napalm.
These strikes were carried out by MAG-12 and U.S. Air Force pilots
at irregular intervals during daylight hours. Air controllers reported
good results. Other aircraft hit known mortar locations capable of
supporting the Chinese. During the morning, Marine Attack Squad-
ron 121 (Lieutenant Colonel Philip "L" Crawford) bombed and
burned Bunker Hill. Just before sunset, F-80 and -84 jets of the
U.S. Air Force dropped 15 tons of bombs on mortar positions and
troops on and around Hill 120. Four F-80s also participated with
eight Marine AD-2 propeller-driven attack aircraft in the morning
attack on Bunker.
Air activity in support of the 1st Marines continued unabated on
11 August. Before the diversionary ground attack just after dusk
that day, Marine and Fifth Air Force fliers repeated the treatment
that Hills 58A and 122 had received the previous day. During day-
light, supporting weapons positions were hit by FAF fighter planes.
At night, MAG-12 air attacks guided by the MPQ-14 radar bombing
system destroyed hostile artillery and mortars. Also during the dark,
the medium bombers of the FEAF Bomber Command struck deeper
in the rear at heavy weapons locations.
These Air Force bombers conducted four more controlled-bombing
The Battle of Bunker Hill
attacks against Chinese artillery during the early hours of 12 August,
when Company B was consolidating its positions and hastily organ-
izing the defense of Bunker Hill. After daylight and until dusk,
MAGs-12 and -33 and USAF squadrons provided four-plane flights
to strike troop assembly areas, supporting weapons positions, and
observation posts close to Hill 122. In late afternoon, Marine pilots
in four F9F Panther jets and three ADs bombed and burned the
enemy side of Bunker Hill during the shelling and subsequent
ground attack against the Marines on the eastern slope.
Marines flew, on 13 August, all of the daylight close air support
missions in support of the actions on both Bunker in the center and
Stromboli in the right of the 1st Marines sector. On 13 August, a
total of 94 aircraft were committed over the regimental sector to
conduct strikes in support of ground operations. Enemy Hill 104,
commanding the 2/1 outpost on 48A (Stromboli), received four
attacks. Fighter bombers (F4U propeller-driven Corsairs) carrying
napalm, rockets, and 1,000-pound bombs, raided the hill mass at0535.
The other strikes against this key terrain-feature were made by attack
and fighter aircraft during the afternoon. Other targets on the regi-
mental right were weapons positions beyond Hill 104 and an enemy
outpost one thousand yards west of Stromboli.
Most of the air support received by the 1st Marines on the 13th
was directed against targets that were participating — or that were
capable of taking part — in the battle on Bunker Hill. Against the
enemy on the height itself, the Marines directed only three strikes,
and these came late in the morning. A majority of the air attacks
were dispatched against observation and command posts and the
firing positions of both automatic and large caliber weapons. Chinese
artillery and mortar fire had inflicted more casualties and punishment
on the Marines than the enemy infantry assaults. As a consequence,
the main effort of the close air support strikes was directed against
these hostile supporting weapons.
After dark on the 13th, VMF(N)-513 commanded by Colonel
Peter D. Lambrecht, 34 took up the air offensive against the heavy
' M Two days later, Colonel Lambrecht, flying a F3D twin jet night fighter with his
radar operator, Second Lieutenant James M. Brown, disappeared while on a night flight.
The last known position of the plane was over the Yellow Sea, 50 air miles west of
Pyongyang. At about that point the aircraft faded from the radar screen. Efforts to re-
establish communications failed. It was reported that observers at sea sighted a crash
and explosion at about this same time. Extensive search failed to uncover any trace of
the Marines or their aircraft.
Operations in West Korea
firing positions in the rear of the enemy line. The squadron con-
ducted four attacks with its night fighters. Two of its attacks were
made just before sunrise.
During the remainder of the battle of Bunker Hill, the ground
fighting subsided and the requirement for close air support abated
accordingly. On the 14th, only four daylight strikes were flown in
the 1st Marines area. These, all by Marine squadrons, were against
active artillery and mortars in the defilade of Hill 120 and others to
the west on the far slope of Hill 123, and Chinese outpost positions,
west of 48A, which had been pestering the Stromboli garrison.
There were no flights after dark on the 14th, but on the following
night, two MPQ missions were flown by VMF(N)-513. Each was
a single plane flight against a reported artillery location. This was
the final night air action in the battle for Bunker Hill. Daylight
missions in support of Hill 122 defense after the sharp decrease of
attacks on the 14th numbered only seven attacks, each by four planes.
These, flown by Marines, continued to emphasize the destruction of
Marine artillery continued its support of ground troops and air
strikes. Cannoneers of the 11th Marines fired 21 flak suppression
missions during the five days beginning on 11 August. This type of
close coordination between Marine supporting arms further reduced
combat losses of aircraft providing CAS to the division. The Marine
artillerymen had played a vital part in the defense of the besieged
outposts. Lieutenant Colonel Armitage credited the box-me-in fires
with an important role in thwarting each enemy attack on Bunker. 35
In the 24-hour period beginning at 1800 on 12 August, Marine
artillery directly supporting the 1st Marines fired 10,652 rounds.
Most of the ammunition was expended in support of the Bunker
Hill defense; some was used in behalf of the Marines outposting
Stromboli during the Communists' early morning diversion that day.
On the 9th, the direct support battalion, 3/11 (Lieutenant Colonel
Charles O. Rogers), had fired about one-fourth of the 12-13 August
total. Many of the shells that first day of the Bunker battle were
preparatory to counterattacks for regaining Siberia.
When the retaking of Hill 58A was discarded in favor of the
surprise attack on 122, the amount of artillery support was reduced,
3/1 ComdD, Aug 52, pp. 3-4.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
during the 1st Marines infantry preparations on the 10th and 11th,
in keeping with the fire support plan. Upon seizure of Bunker,
Lieutenant Colonel Rogers' business immediately picked up and
quickly reached a crescendo the following day, when the 10,652
shells fired became a Marine one-day battalion record for western
Korea until the last stages of fighting in 1953. Other Marine artillery
battalions fired reinforcing missions during the critical period as
did the 4.5-inch Rocket Battery which fired a large number of
on-call ripples. The regimental commander later recalled that "during
some of the crises every gun that could bear on Bunker in the 1 1th
Marines and reinforcing units was shooting there." 80
After a sharp drop on the 14th, the artillery support gradually
decreased in proportion to the amount and strength of the enemy's
action against Hill 122. By 20 August, 3/11 was firing only 244
rounds a day. Only on the 26th, during a serious Chinese attempt
to retake Bunker, did the number of artillery rounds match the
intensity of the fire support rendered during the earlier part of the
It was not only the quantity of 11th Marines support that the
infantry called for during the battle of Bunker Hill; quality was
equally important. A majority of the more than 28,000 rounds that
3/11 fired during the eight days of Bunker Hill fell around the
besieged outposts. Many rounds were fired in defense of MLR
positions. In both of these types of protective fires, extreme accuracy
and precision were required due to the proximity of enemy and
friendly lines in order to prevent any "short" rounds from falling
among Marine positions. Lieutenant Colonel Armitage recalled that
during the height of the battle on the night of 12 August, "we did
have a bad scare . . . when Captain Connolly reported that friendly
mortar fire was falling short." 87 The battalion immediately ceased
fire with its 60mms, 81mms, and 4.2s and each piece was checked;
the culprit was quickly located and within 5-10 minutes 3/l re-
During the August battle, artillery in general support of the
entire division and I Corps artillery reinforcing the fires of
30 BGen Frederick P. Henderson ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC and MS com-
ments, dtd 20 Jun 67, hereafter Henderson ltr III.
87 Armitage ltr and comments, p. 12.
Operations in West Korea
Colonel Henderson's regiment, stepped up their efforts to destroy
the distant and more difficult targets, including mortars and artillery.
These continued to be the main cause of Marine casualties, Some of
the labors of the 11th Marines gun crews did silence enemy heavy
weapons, but personnel losses from enemy shellings still mounted,
especially in the infantry units. To assist in the location and destruc-
tion of the enemy artillery, aerial observers spent considerable time
in spotting and fixing Chinese weapons positions.
Besides these counterbattery efforts, the 11th Marines employed
other artillery means to provide the additional support the 1st Marine
Division requested during Bunker Hill. Two of these were the
counter-counterbattery and the countermortar programs, the former
being a passive defense-deception program to minimize Chinese
counterbattery fires against 11th Marines weapons. Nearly every day
C Battery, 17th Field Artillery Battalion, fired special request
missions. 38 Another type of fire, flak suppression, aided the cause
of close air support pilots delivering ordnance against those Chinese
positions taking Bunker Hill and Stromboli under fire. At night,
illumination shells helped outpost and frontline Marines in locating
groups of enemy massing for assault on Hill 122.
Mortars (4.2-inch) of the 1st Marines contributed heavily to the
defense of the outposts. Operations reached a peak on 12-13 August
when, in a 24-hour period, Captain Carl H. Benson's mortar company
fired 5,952 rounds — 4,084 high explosive and 1,868 illuminating.
In addition to their defensive fires, these hard-hitting weapons
attacked Chinese mortars, automatic weapons, defensive positions,
and troop formations with deadly accuracy.
No less precise and lethal were the fires of Captain Gene M.
McCain's gun tanks (Company C, 1st Tank Battalion), and the
battalion flame tanks. Three of the latter had fired their 105s in.
support of the KMC on the morning of the 9th before the vehicles
received orders to move east to join Company C temporarily. On
the next day, 90s fired on enemy bunkers, observation posts, and
trenches in the vicinity of Siberia and Stromboli. During 11 August,
two gun tanks blasted at targets immediately beyond Siberia and
others to the west of that outpost.
Towards the end of the 11th, the critical part of Bunker battle
began for the tankers also. Those elements of Lieutenant Colonel
38 Many of these targets were CCF choke points, clumps, and weapons emplacements.
Targets were identified and confirmed by a highly developed system that employed air
spotting, aerial photographic interpretation, artillery evaluation, and POW interrogation.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
John I. Williamson's battalion supporting the diversion and the
subsequent main attack pulled into positions south of Hill. 122 on
the MLR and to the right in the Company F sector. It was not until
the next day that the tanks operating with the 1st Marines reached
a peak in gun support for the Bunker fight. Beginning with the
defense of Hill 122 from 1600 that day, and for the next 26 hours,
the tankers placed 817 shells on targets effecting the Chinese capa-
bility of capturing Bunker and Stromboli. In addition to the heavy
ammunition, the Company C tanks, augmented by the 1st Marines
antitank platoon and five tanks from the division tank reserve, fired
32,000 rounds of .30 caliber machine gun ammunition.
Except on the 11th, most of the tank firing in the fight for Bunker
Hill through 14 August was accomplished during the hours of dark-
ness. On the latter date, the cannons and machine guns of the
mediums blasted directly at Chinese outposts opposite Colonel
Layer's regiment. The number of rounds that day fell off considerably
from the high on the 13th; on the 15th the tanks in the 1st Marines
area did not fire at all. Heavy rain that had accompanied the late
afternoon thundershower that day made movement forward to firing
positions impractical. By the next day, however, the ground was
solid enough to permit some maneuvering by the tracked vehicles.
They fired 52 rounds of 90mm shells and 14,750 machine gun
rounds at automatic weapons positions and bunkers on the western
slope of Hill 122. This marked the final tank mission in support
of the 1st Marines in the battle for Bunker Hill.
During the early part of the August fighting, tanks of the division
were able to get the first real test of a technique of night support, 39
and at the same time experiment with a towing device to permit
retrieval of disabled vehicles under fire without getting outside
the tank. The use of the lights to support both the diversionary
force and the defense of Hill 122 showed the value of these instru-
ments. Lieutenant Colonel Williamson recommended that tanks be
employed in pairs, one to spot and adjust fire and the other to fire.
With respect to the towing device, he considered the new piece of
equipment an improvement over the manual hook-up method, but
noted that the device limited tank maneuverability and had a tend-
30 The use of fighting lights to illuminate targets for tank gunners had been under-
taken in July, but the results were inconclusive, owing to failure of one of the bulbs
of the two lights tested. 1st TkBn ComdD, Aug 52, App. VI, Encl. 2. Declared the
G-3, IstMarDiv: "The diversion on Siberia was 100 percent effective, due largely to
the new tank battle lights which we were using for the first time." Honsowelz llr 11.
Operations in West Korea
ency when bouncing up and down over rough terrain to dig into the
ground, impeding the forward progress of the vehicle.
Whether the sacrifice of Siberia in favor of the seizure of Bunker
justified the outcome can be determined, in part, by looking back
to the division commander's reasons for this decision. He had cited
three advantages in seizing and occupying Hill 122 instead of 58A.
One, tactical surprise achieved by an attack on the former, was an
unqualified success. That Bunker Hill would provide more defen-
sible terrain and at the same time add strength to the main line
were two sound judgments that the test of time would bear out. The
third point, that observation into the enemy's outpost line would
be increased from the higher hill, also proved to be correct.
Only the inability to neutralize Hill 58A effectively from Bunker
cast any doubt on the considerations. At night the enemy could
occupy Siberia both for firing positions and flank security to attack
friendly forces moving down the corridor east of Hill 122. Action
to counter these two enemy actions came mainly from MLR forces.
One measure of the results of the Bunker Hill fighting is seen in
the price paid. Chinese losses were estimated by the 1st Marine
Division at approximately 3,200, including more than 400 known
dead. Marine casualties in the action were 48 killed and 313 seriously
wounded. Several hundred additional wounded were treated at 1st
Marines medical facilities and returned to duty shortly thereafter.
To replace combat losses in the infantry regiment, General Selden
on 12 August directed that rear area service and support units
fill the vacancies. Two hundred Marines, nearly all of them volun-
teers, were provided to Colonel Layer by the l4th. To offset other
losses within the division, its commander similarly had requested
on 12 August that the Commandant, General Lemuel C. Shepherd,
Jr., authorize an air-lifting of 500 enlisted Marine infantrymen to
the 1st Marine Division as soon as possible. Pointing out that
mounting battle casualties had reduced the effective strength of the
40 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: FMFPac, 1st-
MarDiv Sum, Jul-Oct 52; PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, Chaps. 8, 9; IstMarDiv, IstMai
ComdDs, Aug 52.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
division, General Selden also urged that each of the next two
monthly replacement drafts scheduled for the division be increased by
500 more enlisted men. After some debate at the next senior adminis-
trative headquarters, 41 the request was granted by General Shepherd,
and the emergency replacements were made available from the 3d
Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. The initial replace-
ment of 500 Marines arrived on 21 August.
More men to replace divisional combat losses might have been
required had not the medical support been such an efficient opera-
tion. After the battle, the regimental surgeon, Lieutenant Robert E.
Murto, called for a review of the medical facilities in effect during
the Bunker, Siberia, and Stromboli fighting. In attendance were the
battalion doctors and the division surgeon, Captain Lawrence E.
Bach. Participants discussed both the major difficulties and routine
procedures involved in medical care of the wounded. Problem areas
were the high incidence of heat exhaustion, ground transportation of
the wounded, enemy artillery fire that interfered with helicopter
evacuations, and the need for increased medical support under battle
Regarding the last category, the surgeons noted that medical
supplies during the heavy fighting of 9-16 August were never at a
dangerously low level. The only shortage that had developed was in
stretchers, due to the normal delay in transfer of stretchers from
medical stations along the evacuation route to the company forward
medical facilities. To help combat the Chinese artillery problem,
medical officers had placed aid stations on the reverse slopes of hills.
There was no available or known solution to hastening and easing
the movement of battlefield casualties over the ground. The armored
personnel carrier offered some protection from ground fire and a
ride less painful than one in a truck, but the wheeled vehicles
remained the most widely used.
There was little that could be done about the number of heat
exhaustion cases. High temperature and humidity, vigorous activity,
41 CG, FMFPac, Lieutenant General Hart, requested the Commandant to delay deci-
sion until FMFPac could survey the combat replacement situation and aircraft avail-
ability. After a quick evaluation of both these factors, General Hart on the 14th
recommended approval. FMFPac ComdD, Aug 52, App. I, End. (6). The air lift of 500
replacements to Korea was an "all out effort for Marine Aviation Transport based on
the West Coast. This general support of Korean based forces demonstrated the total
capability of Marine Aviation in support of ground forces." MajGen Samuel S. Jack to
Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 27 Jun 67, hereafter Jack Itr.
Operations in West Korea
and the wearing of the armored vest (and to some degree, the steel
helmet), combined to produce the casualties. All the surgeons
agreed that regardless of the number of heat casualties, the wearing
of these two items must continue. Regimental doctors credited the
armored vest with saving the lives of 17 Marines. Several other
Marines, they noted, had received only slight head wounds from
bullets that had spent most of their velocity penetrating the steel
Helicopter evacuation saved the lives of other Marines. The doctors
credited the flying skills and bravery of the evacuation pilots for
these rescues. Immediate response to day and night calls was instru-
mental in the recovery of numerous Marines. Rear Admiral Lamont
Pugh, Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy, commented upon the value
of the helicopter and on other reasons for success of medical support.
After a Far East inspection trip, which included a visit to the 1st
Marine Division during the battle of Bunker Hill, Admiral Pugh
expressed the following opinion:
... [I] attributed the new low record "2% mortality" of those men
wounded in action to the bullet resistant vest, to skillful frontline surgery
with availability of whole blood, the utilization of helicopters for casualty
evacuation direct to hospital ships and rear area hospitals, and the efficient
manner in which the Hospital Corpsmen of the Navy fulfilled their mission
with the Marines. 42
In another logistical area, the performance was not quite as satis-
factory, for the level of supply of one important item — illuminating
shells — fell dangerously low during the Bunker fighting. On 16
August, 3/1 reported early in the morning that "artillery illumina-
tion was exhausted and 81mm mortar illumination was fast
diminishing." 48 To replace the shell-produced light, the regiment
used a flare plane. 44
Ammunition supply appeared to be no problem to the Chinese.
The rate and frequency of mortar and artillery fire proved that the
enemy had a vast store of these shells. During the heavy fighting,
the division observed that the enemy expended approximately
17,000 mortar and artillery rounds in the 11-16 August period of
42 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, Chap. 12. p. 12-8.
43 3/1 ComdD, Aug 52, p. 4.
44 Earlier, on 13 August, a flare drop requested by the 1st Marines went awry when
the aircraft got off course and dropped the flares forward of the 5th Marines main line.
IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, 13 Aug 52.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
the battle. It was noted for the first time that the Chinese used
mortars primarily in support of limited attacks.
About the enemy's reliance on mortars and the technique of their
employment, the 1st Marine Division reported:
This was particularly true of his 60 and 82mm mortars, which are
easily displaced forward and shifted to alternate positions. These light
mortars were difficult to locate by our observers mainly because of the
small size and limited development of their positions, and the fact that they
are moved frequently. A large number of enemy mortars were fired from
bunkers deep in the ground with only a narrow aperture at the top through
which to fire. There were some instances, during the Battle of Bunker Hill,
when the enemy brought his 60mm mortars out from cover on the forward
slope and set them up in the open near the crest of the ridge. After
delivering several rounds, the mortars would then displace quickly back
to a covered position. During August, mortar fire averaged oetween 50
and 60 percent of the total incoming received by the 1st Marine Division. 45
Further information about the Chinese was also derived at this
time, although not always directly associated with the battle.
Deserters picked up in the left sectors of the 1st and 5th Marines
on 12 and 13 August and papers taken from enemy dead on the
13th confirmed earlier-reported dispositions of Chinese units. One
prisoner, from the artillery regiment of the 118th Division, the unit
facing the major part of the 1st Marines line, indicated that another
artillery regiment had been assigned to support his division. If
true, this extra unit would account for both the increased Chinese
fires in the Bunker area and the additional artillery emplacements that
photo planes had spotted in the 118th Division sector. Infantry units
of this division, the Marines observed, introduced no new techniques
or equipment during the battle. Prior intelligence had provided the
1st Marines with typical enemy ground attack tactics. Neither the
Chinese envelopment of Siberia, Stromboli, and Bunker nor the
diversion against Hill 48A before the main attack on Hill 122 repre-
sented a departure from normal CCF practice.
Nor was the earlier Marine diversion new, but unlike the Chinese
attempt, the 1st Marines tactic was successful. Just before the
maneuver, the division pulled off another strategem, described by
General Selden in a letter to General Shepherd:
I worked a ruse that morning which proved to be very profitable.
Throughout the Eighth Army front, it had been routine to put on a strike,
IstMarDiv ComdD, Aug 52, p. 2.
Operations in West Korea
this to be followed by smoke, then a good artillery barrage, with troops
following for the assault. This was done with the exception that there were
no troops. The enemy, thinking that there were troops, opened up with
everything. The only damage inflicted was on their own forces . . . While
they were firing on their own troops, we again opened fire with our artillery,
just to help the situation along. 46
One technique the Marines employed in the Bunker Hill battle was
defense of the reverse (protected) side of the hill. Although counter
to the usual American military practice, the reverse slope defense
was required by the intense artillery and mortar fire massed upon
the front slope defenders. As the 3/1 battalion commander later
It's true, we suffered from the heavy incoming — but had we had to work
replacements, casualties, and supplies all the way up to the (forward)
military crest of Bunker — the losses would have been prohibitive. With
the weight of the incoming and our inability to get greater infantry mass
onto the battlefield at one time, a conventional defense would have been far
more costly . . . [after] the damage done to Baker Company in the
[12 August] afternoon attack . . . had we not gone into a reverse slope
defense, we could not [have held] with the strength at hand." 47
On the other hand, a tactical weakness of the reverse slope defense,
that "plagued us until the end of the battle," 4S was the fact that the
1st Marines initial gain was not more fully exploited. As the
battalion commander explained:
To be successful, in a reverse slope defense, the defender must im-
mediately counterattack, retake and reoccupy the forward slope of the
position as soon as enemy pressure diminishes. Because of the incoming
and primarily because of our overextension in regiment, we . . . [employed]
piecemeal commitment . . . and fed units into the battle by company, where
we should have employed our entire battalion in counterattacks to punish
the withdrawing force and restore the forward slope. To the very end,
lack of decisive strength prevented this, We stayed on the reverse slope
all the way, except for brief forays to the forward slope. 49
Some officers felt, in retrospect, that a more feasible solution
during the August battle might have been to move all three
battalions on line — 3/1, 1/1, and 2/1, with the reserve battalion
40 MajGen John T. Selden ltr to Gen Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., dtd 14 Aug 52.
47 Armitage ltr and draft MS comments, p. 7. For further details of the Bunker Hill
action, see Armitage ltr in v. V, Korean comment file.
48 Ibid., p. 8.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
(l/l) deployed on a narrow front. This would have provided
decisive strength on Bunker and the MLR behind it to give greater
depth counterattack capability, and better control at the point where
needed. 50 Departure from standard doctrine by employment of the
reverse slope defense furthered the existing controversy as to the best
method of ground organization in the division sector. But it was to
be some months before a change would be effected. 51
Tank, artillery, air, and ground Marines participating in the
battle of Bunker Hill gave up one outpost but took another, one
that added strength not only to the outpost defense but also to the
main line. A well thought-out plan and its skillful execution per-
mitted Marines to take the critical terrain quickly without crippling
casualties. Defense of the position on Hill 122 was complicated not
so much by the Chinese infantry action but by the intensive mortar
and artillery shelling. The Marines' capability to defend was
enhanced by close coordination among artillery, air, and tank units.
Chinese casualties, by estimate, were 500 percent more than the
losses actually suffered by the Marines. The battle of Bunker Hill
resulted in the first major Marine action and victory in West Korea.
It ushered in two straight months of hard fighting, the most difficult
ones yet for Marines on the western front.
00 l bid., p. 9.
ul As the military situation changed in Korea to become increasingly one of a battle
of position and attrition, the Marine Corps Basic School, Quantico, Va. curriculum was
revised to give greater emphasis to tactics of positional warfare. Close attention was
paid to terrain evaluation, employment of infantry units, offensive and defensive use of
automatic and supporting weapons, night counterattacks, field problems of reverse slope
defense, and even tasks of "research into WW I — and the American Civil and Revo-
lutionary Wars for the tactic of Reverse Slope defense." Armitage lit.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
From the Center Sector to the Right — Early September Out-
post Clashes — Korean COPs Hit Again — More Enemy Assaults
in Late September — Chinese Intensify Their Outpost Attacks
—More PRESSURE, More CAS, More Accomplishments-
Rockets, Resupply, and Radios
From the Center Sector to the Right 1
Following THE progressively faltering Chinese attacks against
Bunker Hill in mid- August, the 1st Marines in the center MLR
sector witnessed a period of decreased enemy activity. By sun-up on
the 17th, Captain Ksycewski's Company C, from Lieutenant Colonel
King's 1st Battalion had relieved B/l/1, marking the second com-
plete tour of duty at Hill 122 for Company B that month. In two
days on the shell-torn crest, Company C received only a single enemy
probe and only a few rounds of artillery and mortar fire. In the early
morning hours of the 19th, D/2/1 assumed responsibility for Bunker
and Hill 124. These new occupants of the disputed property almost
immediately were subjected to larger and more frequent Chinese
probes as well as increased fire from CCF supporting weapons.
Enemy ground action was directed against the Marine flank, especi-
ally the right. Four Chinese infantrymen attempted to infiltrate this
corner of the Bunker Hill defenses just before sunrise on 23 August.
One even made his way to the top of Hill 122 where he fired downhill
at several Marine defenders, wounding one. A moment later this lone
Chinese's reconnaissance efforts was rewarded by a fatal hit from
a Marine sniper's rifle.
1 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdD, Aug 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 661-675, dtd 18-31 Aug 52; IstMar, 5thMar, 2/1,
3/1 ComdDs, Aug 52.
Operations in West Korea
Captain Moody's Company F next took over the two-hill complex.
That night, the 24th, the Chinese shelled the two hills and probed
their defenses but again showed no inclination to press an attack. On
the following night, however, the Chinese became more aggressive.
At dusk, two squads charged the right flank of Bunker Hill, threw
hand grenades, and fired their submachine guns briefly at the Marines.
The enemy then retired, but about an hour afterwards, a force esti-
mated at two-company strength assaulted the outpost defenses from
the center to the right. At the same time, enemy shells began ex-
ploding around these Marine positions. Captain Moody called for
artillery and tank fire on the attackers. Pushing forward, the Com-
munist infantrymen forced a small opening in the defense perimeter;
by this time, a standby platoon on the MLR was moving forward to
strengthen the Bunker garrison. Upon arrival of the Marine reinforce-
ments, at midnight, the Chinese soldiers withdrew. Simultaneously,
the incoming artillery and mortar fire diminished, and in less than a
half hour all firing had ceased.
After the enemy had pulled back, Company F sent its platoon out
to reoccupy a forward listening position temporarily abandoned dur-
ing the second attack. Chinese soldiers immediately contested this
advance and, after a local fire fight, caused the Marines to retire
once more. That action ended the significant Bunker Hill action in
August. In the spirited infantry fighting and artillery dueling during
the night of 25-26 August, Marines suffered 65 casualties, including
8 killed. The Chinese losses were estimated at 100 killed and 170
wounded. Supporting arms fire had contributed largely to the high
casualty figures on both sides.
During August, whenever a lull had occurred in Colonel Layer's
1st Marines embattled sector, it almost invariably signaled a step-up
of Chinese action elsewhere along the 1st Marine Division MLR.
When frustrated in their attacks against the positions held by the
1st Marines, the enemy invariably turned his attention to the right
cf the line, manned since June by the 5th Marines. During August
the Chinese seized three outposts forward of the 2/5" right battalion
line, which it had been the Marine practice to man during daylight
hours only. The trio, forming a diagonal line southwest to northeast,
in front of the battalion sector were Elmer, Hilda, and Irene.
- Command responsibility for this sector changed on 20 August, when Lieutenant
Colonel William S. McLaughlin took over the battalion from Lieutenant Colonel Cross.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
After dusk on 6 August the enemy had advanced to COP Elmer,
on the far southwest end, and by skillful coordination of their
infantry and supporting fires denied the position to the Marines
approaching to reoccupy the outpost early the next morning. An hour
before midnight on 11 August, another 2/5 patrol had attempted to
temporarily occupy Hilda, in the center, during the diversionary fires
supporting the Bunker Hill attack. As the Marines neared the outpost,
however, they discovered the Chinese had already occupied it. Enemy
mortar and artillery fire drove the patrol back to its own lines.
A similar situation occurred at dawn on 17 August, when the
Marine outpost detail moved forward to occupy Irene during daylight
hours and found the Chinese already on the position. Enemy troops
fired at the Marines, pinning them down. 3 Although two rescue units
were dispatched to support the Marines, CCF fire interdicted their
route of approach. When it became evident the second reinforcement
party could not reach its objective, the outpost detail was ordered to
pull back to the MLR. The Chinese continued to occupy Irene, the
last outpost lost in August, for the remainder of the 2/5 tour on line.
For the remainder of August the Chinese were apparently content
to hold what they had gained without immediately seeking additional
positions. As a result, operations along the front were mostly limited
to patrol action. Chinese infantry units, usually no larger than a
squad, regularly fired on Marine patrols, engaging them for a short
period from afar, and then quickly breaking off the contact. Seldom
was this small unit action supported by artillery or mortars.
On two occasions late in the month, however, the Chinese showed
more spirit. Both encounters took place during the early evening
hours of 22 August when Chinese patrols came upon two different
Company F ambushes operating forward of the 2/5 sector. Heavy
casualties were suffered by both sides.
The next day a brief but heavy period of rainfall began with nine
inches recorded between 23-25 August. Although the flooding condi-
tions in the division sector were not so extensive as the July rains,
they curtailed ground activity considerably and air action to a lesser
3 To escape the murderous hostile fire, the Marines sought shelter in a trench nearby.
During the ensuing clash, a Chinese grenade landed in the midst of the Marines. Pri-
vate First Class Robert E. Simanek, E/2/5, unhesitatingly threw himself upon ttit
deadly missile an instant before it exploded. Although gravely woundtd, his courageous
action prevented injury or death to fellow patroi members. The following year, Presi-
dent Dwight D. Eisenhower presented the Medal of Honor to the Detroit, Michigan
Marine for his "daring initiative and great personal valor."
Operations in West Korea
degree. Division roads were badly damaged but not trenches and
bunkers, strengthened as a result of the experience with the July
floods. High waters made the ferry inoperable at the Honker Bridge
site and also washed out Widgeon Bridge, where the Imjin crested
to 42.5 feet. If the sudden flash floods wreaked havoc with some
of the Marine division installations, the Chinese were the recipients
of similar disfavors; intelligence indicated that damage to the CCF
frontline positions was even more severe than to the JAMESTOWN
The end of August saw the relief of General Selden as Com-
manding General, 1st Marine Division. He was succeeded on the
29th by Major General Edwin A. Pollock. A brief ceremony at divi-
sion headquarters, attended by senior officers of EUSAK and KMC,
marked the event. Earlier that month, in recognition of his services
to the Korean defense, President of the Republic of Korea, Syngman
Rhee, had awarded General Selden the Order of Military Merit,
Taiguk, the highest Korean award.
The new division commander, General Pollock 5 had commanded
the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina just prior
to his Korean tour. He had more than 30 years of military experi-
ence. During World War II, he had participated in no fewer than
five major campaigns in the Pacific, including the first at Guadalcanal,
where he earned a Navy Cross, and one of the war's most costly
battles, Iwo Jima. Following the war, he had served at Marine Corps
Schools, Quantico, in command and staff assignments, and later at
Headquarters Marine Corps where in July 1949, he had received
his first star.
Early September Outpost Clashes 6
The new division commander shortly received a first-hand demon-
stration of the ferocity and persistence of the Chinese Communists
opposite his division. On 4 September, the enemy suddenly stepped
up his activities which had recently been limited to sporadic probes
* IstMarDiv PIR 669, dtd 25 Aug 52.
5 Divlnfo, HQMC, Biography of MajGen Edwin A. Pollock, Jan 56, rev.
''Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv,
IstMar, 5thMar, 2/1, 3/1, 2/5, 3/5 ComdDs, Sep 52; KMC Regt UnitRpts 188-189,
dtd 6-7 Sep 52.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
and occasional artillery fire against Bunker Hill. At 2030 that date
Captain Moak, E/2/1, commanding officer at the Bunker outpost,
reported that an artillery preparation was falling on his positions.
Ten minutes later he radioed 3/1 7 that an enemy platoon was vigor-
ously probing his right flank. When Company E Marines returned
a heavy volume of small arms fire, the enemy retired.
This Chinese withdrawal was only temporary, for the initial probe
proved the forerunner of more serious activity. Again at 0100 on
5 September a heavy deluge of Chinese mortar and artillery began
raining on Hill 122. The intense preparation had apparently con-
vinced the Chinese attacking force that they had eliminated
resistance at the Marine outpost, for their soldiers walked upright
toward Marine positions, without bothering to make any attempts at
concealment. After discovering that a stout defense was still being
maintained at Bunker, the Chinese again withdrew and reorganized.
When they resumed the attack, the Chinese used considerably
greater caution. This time, in addition to small arms, automatic
weapons fire, and a hail of grenades, their assault was supported
by artillery and mortars. The results of this concerted effort were
not too rewarding, however. Assaults on the center of Hill 122 were
repulsed and attempts to crack the left perimeter of Company E's
defenses were even more speedily beaten back. A number of Chinese
attempting to outflank the E/2/1 defenders inadvertently strayed
too far to the right of the outpost and found themselves advancing
against the MLR south of Hill 122.
When jamestown forces engaged these wanderers by fire, the
latter quickly realized their mistake and wheeled left for a hasty
retreat. They immediately came under fire of their own troops,
some of whom had meanwhile penetrated 60 yards into the extreme
right of the Bunker positions. At this point, Captain Moak's Com-
pany E launched a counterattack and restored its positions on the
right. This action forced a general withdrawal of the Chinese force,
which the Marines estimated at battalion strength. Lieutenant
Colonel Sidney J. Altman s subsequently advised division headquarters
that his men had killed 30 enemy soldiers and estimated that as
7 Normally a component of the 2d Battalion, Company E had been attached to the
3d Battalion on 1 September when the company took over the Bunker Hill outpost. The
relieved Company H was then attached to 2/1, the reserve battalion, from 1-3 September.
8 On 20 August Lieutenant Colonel Altman became the commander of 3/l in relief
of Lieutenant Colonel Armitage.
Operations in West Korea
many as 305 were probably wounded. This high rate of casualties
was attributed, in part, to the enemy's mistaken sense of direction,
their direct walking approach which had made them easy standing
targets, and to the box-me-in artillery fires supporting the defenders.
Marine losses were 12 killed and 40 wounded, caused mostly by
Chinese mortars and artillery.
Although the left battalion area was the center of attention in the
1st Marines line early on 5 September, the far right sector was not
entirely neglected either. Five minutes after their initial attack on
Bunker, other Chinese units also lunged at the Hill 48A outpost,
Stromboli. An estimated reinforced platoon, supported by three
active machine guns on Hill 104, 850 yards to the north, employed
submachine guns, rifles, and grenades in their attack. This battle
lasted for nearly two hours, until the Chinese soldiers withdrew at
0240. There were no Marine losses. No tally or estimate was made
on the number of enemy KIA or WIA. It was presumed that some
of the Communists did become casualties since the three machine
guns that had been chattering away to support the attacker's ground
action suddenly went silent after Marines called down mortar and
artillery fire on the Hill 104 positions.
The probes of 1st Marines positions at Bunker Hill and, to a
lesser degree, at Stromboli were repeated in the 5th Marines right
regimental sector. At almost exactly the same time Colonel Eustace
R. Smoak's regiment 9 was struck at five of its forward outposts. In
the case of OP Gary, on the right, the enemy merely shelled the
position for 40 minutes. Against the four other outposts, known as
Allen, Bruce, Clarence, and Felix, the Chinese employed both fire and
asault troops. (See Map 12.) At Felix the action had begun at
0130, a half hour later than at the adjacent outposts. The difference
was probably due to a C/l/5 ambush 10 which had engaged an
enemy force operating between Donald and Felix. After a brief five
minute fire fight the Marines broke off the action, pulling back to
Felix. The other three outposts, clustered to the left of the 3/5
sector, received the brunt of the enemy thrust which lasted for
an hour and 20 minutes before the Communists withdrew.
11 Colonel Smoak had relieved Colonel Culhane on 15 August.
1,1 Although l/5 (Lieutenant Colonel Alexander W. Gentleman) was the regimental
reserve at this time, the regiment had assigned one company to 2/5, manning the right
Operations in West Korea
Employing a squad against both Allen and Clarence, and sending
a reinforced company against Bruce, the enemy alternately assaulted
and shelled the positions until 0420, after which the Communist units
policed the battlefield for casualties and withdrew to the north.
Although there was no official estimate of enemy losses, one
Marine at outpost Bruce was credited with inflicting approximately
200 casualties by fire from two machine guns, a carbine, and
grenades. He was Private First Class Alford L. McLaughlin, of
1/3/5, who was later to receive the Medal of Honor for "con-
spicuous gallantry and intrepidity." Another Marine from the same
company was posthumously awarded the medal. Private First Class
Fernando L. Garcia, although gravely wounded, had thrown himself
on a hostile grenade to save the life of his platoon sergeant during
the Chinese rush to take OP Bruce.
At daybreak the 1/3/5 defenders at Bruce, commanded by Captain
Edward Y. Holt, Jr., were confronted by an almost unbelievable
scene of destruction. All of the bunkers on the forward side of the
hill had been destroyed by Chinese mortar and artillery; on the
reverse slope, only two had escaped ruination. Marine losses were
32 dead and wounded. 11 To restore the position the 3/5 commander,
Lieutenant Colonel Oscar T. Jensen, Jr., directed replacements for-
ward immediately. Carrying emergency supplies, including building
materials, the relief element reached Bruce about 1000. Evacuation
of casualties was the first task and at 1045 the relieved detail was
on its way back to the MLR. Later that day a supply party reached
the outpost, having been temporarily delayed by Chinese interdicting
Reinforcement of Bruce and the repair of its defenses were consid-
erably slowed by the continuous rain of enemy projectiles during
daylight. Marine and USAF pilots bombed and napalmed enemy
bunkers and troops north of Jamestown in the 5th Marines sector.
Ten air strikes were executed in support of the 5th Marines that day.
11 Still another award of the Medal of Honor was to come out of the action that
ended on 5 September. Hospitalman Third Class Edward C. Benfold had ministered
aid to several wounded Marines and was searching for others who needed medical at-
tention when he saw two wounded Marines in a shell crater. Just as he neared its edge
two grenades fell into it and two Chinese prepared to assault the Marines. "Picking up
a grenade in each hand, Benfold leaped out of the crater and hurled himself against the
onrushing hostile soldiers, pushing the grenades against their chests and killing both.
. . . He gallantly gave his life for his country." Medal of Honor citation, case of Hos-
pital Corpsman Third Class Edward C. Benfold, USN, 4168234.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
Early on 6 September, 10 minutes after midnight, long-range
machine gun fire, buttressed by artillery and mortars, hit outpost
Bruce. After 35 minutes the firing subsided, but again at 0305 the
outpost experienced a heavy rate of incoming. At about this time, the
Communist soldiers massed for an assault on the battered position.
Marine defenders called down the artillery box, and the Chinese
That evening, at 1915, the outpost commander reported that the
Chinese had again resumed a steady shelling of the position. The
bombardment continued for an hour. After these heavy preparatory
fires, a wave of enemy infantry began scrambling up the sides of
Bruce. At the same time, outpost Allen to the left came under long-
range fire from enemy strongholds to the west and north. After the
Chinese made their initial rush against Bruce, a second and third
attack fared no better. Each was met and repulsed by the 5th Marines.
After the third abortive attack, a period of deathly stillness
descended upon the contested hill. Occasionally, an enemy mortar
round found its mark among the scattered, splintered bunker timbers
and the caved-in trenches, which connected the sandbag and lumber
positions. At 0145 on the 7th, the Chinese interrupted the uneasy
peace that had settled upon Bruce with a brief, heavy preparatory fire.
Exactly an hour later, an estimated two Chinese companies
advanced up the forward slopes, using demolitions to destroy any
friendly bunkers their artillery and mortar had not earlier com-
pletely wrecked. By the time this newest assault had raged for 30
minutes, nearly every 3/5 defender had become a casualty. Still the
Marines refused to give ground, dealing first with the forward
slope assault by the Chinese and later with those who attempted
to envelop the Marines on the reverse side. On the MLR Marines
first observed enemy flares falling between outpost Bruce and Line
jamestown. Soon thereafter the Chinese policed the battlefield. By
0400 the Communists retired, and the fight for this key outpost had
ended in failure.
During the 51-hour siege of Outpost Bruce, 19 Marines had been
killed and 38 wounded. At the adjacent 5th Marines outposts, addi-
tional losses were 5 killed and 32 wounded. More than 200 enemy
dead were counted. During the last eight hours of the vicious,
close-in fighting at Bruce, it was estimated that another 200 Chinese
had been wounded.
Position established by enemy
5-7 September 1952
Outpost Fighting Expanded
The Korean Marines, holding down the western flank of the three
mainland regimental sectors in the 1st Marine Division line, also
received a share of the enemy's attention. At dusk on 5 September,
Chinese barrages began to smash Outpost 37, 12 the first of a trio of
positions that would merit hostile attention for the next 22 hours.
Throughout the following day the Chinese continued their mortar
and artillery fire against Outposts 37 and 36, and the regimental
observation post located on Hill 155 (also called Hill 167) to the
rear of the MLR. (See Map 13.) The heaviest enemy fire was
directed against OP 36, a small rise in the low land terrain midway
between the Sachon River, on the west and the Munsan-ni-Kaesong
rail line, 600 yards to the east.
At 1605 a 50-round barrage struck OP 36. After this harassing
fire there was a lull until 1810 when Chinese artillery and mortars
again resumed a steady pounding of the three positions. One hour
later enemy soldiers hit both outposts. Twice the attacking company
assaulted OP 37 but neither effort represented, in the view of the
defenders, a serious attempt at capture. Less than a mile south at
OP 36, however, the enemy motive appeared to be quite different.
Crossing the Sachon just north of the Freedom Gate Bridge (also
known as the highway bridge), the Communist infantry moved to
assault positions on the west, north, and northeast sides of the out-
post. At 1910, the Chinese began their first rush. It was repulsed, as
was a second one. Another artillery barrage, joined this time by tank
fire, preceded the third attempt. At this point communications went
out at the besieged outpost. At 2150, a squad leader from OP 36
reached the 10th Company CP to report that his position had fallen.
In 30 minutes a communications link was re-established with the
outpost. The defending Koreans reported that although enemy troops
had overrun much of the hill, they had subsequently withdrawn,
apparently because their losses had been so heavy.
Casualties and damage were severe. The Korean regiment esti-
mated that 110 enemy had been killed or wounded. An early morn-
ing KMC reconnaissance patrol counted 33 dead Chinese in the
vicinity of OP 36. The attacking force had also left behind much
equipment, including more than 100 grenades and several automatic
12 Contemporary records of the 1st KMC Regiment for 1952-1953 identify this as
Outpost 37. Current reviewer comments refer to this hill as OP 67. LtCol Kim Yong
Kyu, ROKMC, ltr to CMC, HQMC, dtd 5 Jul 67.
Operations in West Korea
weapons. No papers were found on the dead Communist soldiers,
but many propaganda leaflets had been dropped around the outpost.
Korean Marine losses at OP 36 were nine killed and seven wounded.
At OP 37 there were four casualties; at the regimental CP, one
Korean and two U.S. Marines had been killed by enemy artillery.
Chinese incoming, estimated at 2,500 rounds during the two actions,
had also caused major damage to part of the OP 36 defenses, but
inflicted less harm to the other two positions. Repairs were begun
Korean COPS Hit Again 13
After the stepped-up enemy ground activity in early September, both
Chinese and Marine frontline units resumed their earlier pattern of
combat patrols, probes, and ambushes. Possession of Bunker Hill
remained the immediate objective of the enemy and his activities in
the middle of the Marine line were directed to this goal. Once again
on 9 September a marauding Chinese platoon, employing grenades
and submachine guns, sounded out the Bunker defenses, now manned
by G/3/1 (Captain William F. Whitbeck, Jr.). After a tentative
investigation, the enemy withdrew. That same day, expanded patrol
and raiding activities were undertaken by Marine line battalions.
These sharply increased offensive measures resulted, in part, from
the Communist interest, as evinced during the summer truce negoti-
ations, in certain forward positions held by UNC units. On 7 Sep-
tember, the CG, I Corps had alerted his division commanders to
the fact that the enemy "may attempt to seize and hold certain key
terrain features . . . over which there was extensive disagreement
during [the 1952 summer truce] negotiations for the present line of
demarcation." 14 Since much of the critical land was in his sector,
Major General Kendall further warned his division commanders "to
take the necessary action within your means to hold all terrain now
occupied by your divisions." 15 Critical terrain features in the 1st
Marine Division area of responsibility were Bunker Hill and the
13 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdD, Sep 52; KMC Regt UnitRpts 195-202, dtd 13-20 Sep 52.
14 1st MarDiv ComdD, Sep 52, App. I, # 8.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
height on which COP Bruce had been established (Hill 148), in
the center and right regimental sectors respectively.
Two days later, General Pollock amplified this directive by under-
scoring the necessity for holding these two positions, plus eight more
he considered vital for sound tactical defense. These additional posi-
tions, from west to east, were Hills 86 and 37 in the KMC sector;
Hills 56 and 48A in the center sector; and the outposts then known
as Allen, Clarence, Felix, and Jill, all the responsibility of the right
Although the eastern part of the division main line thus contained
at this time more key hills than any other Marine sector, much of
the increase in Marine patrol and ambush activity took place in
No-Man's-Land forward of the middle frontline regiment. Of the
two jamestown sectors manned by U.S. Marines, the one in the
center of the division area offered better ground for infantry
On the divisional western flank, the Korean Marines conducted
frequent infantry-tank patrols during the second and third weeks of
September, but the enemy opposite the KMCs initiated little ground
activity. Instead, the Chinese relied upon their supporting weapons
to provide the contact. For a seven-day period ending 19 September,
a total of 2,375 enemy rounds had fallen in that regimental sector,
an average of 339 per day. Nearly a third had been in the vicinity
of Hill 36.
Before sunrise on the 19th, a Chinese infantry company had
crossed the Sachon in the vicinity of the railroad bridge. Once on the
east side, the enemy soldiers concealed themselves in caves and holes,
remaining there until dusk. Then, when they came out of hiding, the
Communists held a briefing and organized themselves into three
attack groups. As these advance infantry elements approached their
objective, OP 36, other reinforcing units were prepared to seize
OP 37, to the east, and OPs 33 and 31, to the south. Artillery and
mortar preparation supported these diversionary attacks.
The main assault was accompanied by even heavier shelling. As
the three assault units reached the bottom of the hill at OP 36,
10 When the 7th Marines took over this sector from the 5th in early September, the
names changed to Carson, Vegas, Detroit, and Seattle respectively. COP Bruce was also
redesignated as Reno. Since the old names of the outposts were well known to the
enemy, for purposes of security it was decided to identify them differently. U.S. cities
Operations in West Korea
artillery, mortars, and tanks had fired more than 400 rounds.
Approaching from the north, east, and west, the Chinese scrambled
up the hill, gaining control of the wrecked defenses by 2000.
Sporadic exchanges of fire lasted until nearly midnight. At 0115 the
Korean Marines attempted to retake the hill. The counterattack was
cut short, however, upon discovery of another enemy unit moving
towards the outpost and then only one-half mile away. Three hours
later the enemy came back in strength when a CCF platoon success-
fully overthrew the outpost at 0520. This new assault occurred
without any warning and was so swiftly executed that a number of
the KMC defenders found themselves encircled and trapped at their
posts. Most managed to escape, but several were captured and later
evacuated when the Chinese removed their own battle casualties.
Another attempt to regain the outpost was made by the Koreans
at 1400, following artillery preparation and two air strikes. Three
Marine attack squadrons, VMAs-323, -121, and -212 blasted the
Chinese on the front slope of OP 36. The contour of the far side
of the hill had provided the enemy a defiladed position and safety
from 1st Marine Division organic weapons. But the MAG-12 air
sorties, destroying many CCF automatic weapons and mortars and
breaking up a company strongpoint, helped the Koreans counter-
attack and overrun the dazed defenders. Two KMC platoons, sup-
ported by artillery, mortar, and tank fire, then carried the OP after
overcoming token Chinese resistance. After the enemy vacated OP 36,
he still continued to remain in the low area to the northwest, close
to the east side of the Sachon River. No serious attempt was made
by the enemy to occupy the position for the rest of the month.
The 20-hour clash for control of OP 36 was believed to have
developed from the Chinese ambition to occupy the position and
thereby eliminate the harassing fires from Hill 36 that had struck
CCF mainline troops. The 19-20 September attempts to wrest the
outpost from Korean control resulted in an estimated 150 Chinese
casualties, including 20 counted dead. KMC losses were placed at
16 killed, 47 wounded, and 6 missing.
On the day that the second September battle for OP 36 had ended,
the Commandant of the Marine Corps had also just concluded his
three-day visit and inspection of General Pollock's troops. Visiting
every battalion in the division, General Shepherd was impressed by
the morale and proficiency of the Marines, including the attached
Outpost Fighting Expanded
1st KMC Regiment. During his visit to Korea, the Marine Corps
Commandant was also presented the Order of Military Merit, Taiguk,
by President Rhee. General Shepherd ended his Korean battlefront
visit after a two-day inspection of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing units
commanded by Major General Jerome (he had received his second
star on 6 August) .
More Enemy Assaults in Late September"
Even though the enemy had concentrated his strongest infantry attack
in late September against the Korean Marines, his most frequent
probes were launched against center regimental positions held by
Colonel Layer's 1st Marines. Here the enemy was more consistent
in conducting his defense. Chinese troops doggedly held on to the
northern slopes of several Marine outposts, notably Hills 124 and
122. In this center regimental sector, the enemy initiated several
attacks, the most significant of these occurring on the 20t:h.
This action against the left sector manned by 2/1 centered about
Hill 124, where Lieutenant Colonel Batterton's battalion had estab-
lished a 24-hour, squad-size outpost three days earlier. At 0345,
Marines on Hill 124 observed two green flares fired from a hill about
1,100 yards to their front. At the same time the men of 2/1 observed
numerous figures moving about downhill from their own position.
It soon became evident that four enemy groups were converging on
Hill 124 and preparing to assault the Marine defenses which shortly
came under fire from enemy submachine guns and rifles. The main
probe was a frontal assault against Batterton's men; it was made by
about 20 Chinese and lasted only five minutes. Afterwards, all four
assault groups withdrew but continued firing intermittently at the
Marine squad. Nearly every Marine on the hill suffered wounds,
most of these minor. Enemy losses for the action were placed at 22.
In this same sector Marines in late September attacked the northern
slope of Hill 122, where the enemy still maintained a foothold. The
proximity of Marine defenses at Bunker Hill to enemy positions,
separated in some places by as little as 30 yards, was the cause of
17 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv,
IstMar, 7thMar, 2/1 ComdDs, Sep 52.
Operations in West Korea
frequent contact and clashes. Marines raided the enemy side of
Bunker, using demolitions and portable flamethrowers to destroy
trenches and bunkers, and their occupants. Tanks and artillery
assisted in these brief offensive actions, usually undertaken at night.
Flares were used frequently to aid in identifying and striking targets
and in assessing the results.
It became routine during the last days of September for the Chinese
to probe the Marine defenses at the Hills 124-122 axis. There did not
appear to be a serious or determined assault to take either outpost,
however. The Marines considered the infantry probes as just another
form of harassment, although perhaps more personal and direct
than the Chinese shelling, which inflicted daily losses. On the divi-
sion right, Colonel Moore's 7th Marines, which had moved into this
sector on 7 September, found enemy activities about the same. Artil-
lery rounds caused the greatest number of casualties, although these
attacks were not particularly spirited. Many enemy contacts occurred
during the Marine combat patrols that largely characterized front-
line operations at the end of September.
Chinese Intensify Their Outpost Attacks 1 *
With the beginning of October, the 1st Marine Division became
aware of certain changes that were occurring to its front. In the
center sector, for the first time in two weeks there was no significant
enemy ground activity, yet across the entire Marine front there
was a build-up of enemy shelling. Part of the increased bombardment
was directed at Hill 86 in the KMC sector, one of the positions
recently cited as integral to the defense line in this area. Beginning
at 2000 on 1 October, the Chinese broadcast a warning that they
would knock down the outpost bunkers there unless the Korean
Marines surrendered. When the KMCs manning the position did not,
of course, surrender in reaction to this blatant propaganda tactic,
the Chinese began showering Hill 86 with artillery rounds. During
the next 20 hours, 145 rounds fell on and around the outpost. This
18 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: FMFPac,
IstMarDiv Sum, Jul-Oct 52; IstMarDiv ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnls, 1-7
Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRS 706-713, dtd 1-8 Oct 52; IstMar, 5thMar, 7thMar, llthMar,
3/1, 1/7, 2/7, 3/7 ComdDs, Oct 52; KMC Regt UnitRpts 214-220, dtd 2-8 Oct. 52.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
incident marked the first time that the Chinese mainline forces had
carried out an announced threat.
This type of operational tactic — first to warn, then to carry out
the threat — was not, however, the reason for the increased Chinese
shelling. Rather, as it turned out, the enemy was about to embark
on a series of limited objective attacks against the division flanks,
starting first with major outposts guarding the most critical terrain
on the MLR. The artillery and mortar fire of the 1st had been but an
initial step. At 1830 on 2 October, Communist direct fire weapons
opened up from an area 2,800 yards northwest of OP 36, lashing all
the KMC outposts within range. A tank platoon, dispatched to coun-
ter the fire, returned at 1915 without having located the hostile em-
placements. Shortly after the tanks returned, an extremely heavy artil-
lery barrage again fell upon all of the KMC regimental outposts. Ten
minutes later, seemingly on the signal of one red and one green
flare, the enemy guns lifted their preparatory fires to permit an
infantry attack. The ground action simultaneously struck. OPs 37,
36, and 86, the forward positions closest to the Sachon River.
At OP 37, the defending Korean Marine platoon fought valiantly
for more than an hour against the assault of two enemy platoons,
each of which required a company-size reinforcement before the
Korean Marines were finally ousted. Although temporarily dislodged,
they reorganized at the base of the position for a counterattack. Two
counterattacks were made the next day, the second one carrying the
Koreans to the top of the hill. Fierce enemy mortar and artillery
shelling forced them to seek the shelter of the reverse slope before
again renewing their assault. On 4-5 October, the outpost changed
hands four times. At 1340 on the latter date, a heavy enemy artillery
and ground attack compelled the KMCs to abandon their ravaged
outpost; this withdrawal ended friendly control of OP 37 for the
rest of the month.
Nearby OP 36 was also lost. In the course of the night the Korean
Marines on OP 36 turned back two Communist assaults, but fell
under the weight of the third. By sunup on 3 October, the exhausted
Korean Marines were forced to give ground; the Chinese immedi-
ately occupied OP 36 and held it.
One more KMC outpost was to fall during the first week. OP 86
guarded the southwestern two-thirds of the regimental sector and
freuently was the target of artillery shelling and ground attacks.
Operations in West Korea
This position was also the most distant from the main line and the
closest to the Sachon River.
The heaviest Communist attack on 2 October was against the
KMC platoons defending Hill 86. Nearly a battalion of Chinese
took part in this action, finally overpowering the outpost just before
midnight. The defenders withdrew south to the bottom of the
hill, where they were comparatively safe from enemy fire. Resting,
receiving reinforcements, and regrouping during the early morning
hours of the 3d, the Korean Marine force observed friendly artillery
and air pound the outpost preparatory to their counterattack. It was
made at 1015 and succeeded, after two hours fighting, in routing
the Chinese from the outpost.
While the enemy was counteracting the ground loss with artillery
and mortars, Marine air flushed out the Chinese, who had retreated
only a short distance from the outpost. From atop the hill, Korean
Marines witnessed many of the enemy hurriedly leaving the area
under attack. This scattering of the enemy force prevented the
Chinese from launching an immediate counterattack for control of
OP 86 and gave the Korean Marines additional time in which to pre-
pare their defenses. At 2200 on 6 October, an enemy force of undeter-
mined size assaulted the position and wrested it from the Koreans
before the end of the day. Early the next morning a KMC counter-
attack was successful, but at 0640 the Koreans were again compelled
to withdraw, due to devastating blows from Chinese artillery. Loss
of the third key outpost during the first week of October, ended for
a time the flare-up of outpost fighting in the left regimental sector
of the division front.
The middle part of the MLR, held in early October by the 1st
Marines, received the least enemy attention in this period. Although
frequent contacts were made with the enemy during the first part
of the month, no outposts were lost. Most of the action was minor,
i.e., patrol engagements and Communist probes centered around
Bunker Hill and Hill 124. Late on 5 October, a combat patrol from
H/3/l became involved in the most important ground action in
Colonel Layer's area during early October. These Marines were
surprised by a larger Chinese force lying in wait. The ambushers
held their fire until the Marine combat patrol had cleared a small
hilltop. At 2230, after a 20-minute fire fight, the patrol withdrew
to the reverse slope of the rise, called in 81mm mortar fire, then
Outpost Fighting Expanded 163
broke contact, and returned to the MLR. There were 4 Marine casu-
alties, and by count, 13 dead Chinese.
By far the greatest number of personal losses at this time occurred
in the right area held by the 7th Marines, where the Chinese began
a series of limited objective attacks against outposts guarding the
division right flank. These offensives to obtain critical terrain in this
sector, and others manned by the 1st Marine Division, would continue
intermittently right up to the brink of the cease-fire, in July 1953.
In early October, Colonel Moore's troops manned nine permanent
combat outposts. (See Map 14.) Seven of these had been taken over
when the regiment relieved the 5th Marines in September. Two
additional ones — Frisco and Verdun — had been established by the 7th
Marines on the 14th and 26th, respectively. Of these nine forward
positions, the Communists chose to concentrate on four, which formed
a diagonal line roughly paralleling the center sector of the MLR at
an average distance of about 450 yards. This quartet — Detroit, Frisco,
Seattle, and Warsaw — together with Verdun, 19 at the 1st Common-
wealth boundary, comprised the easternmost permanent outposts of
the division. The first four positions were, on the average, slightly
lower in elevation than the COPs in the regimental area to the west.
The frontline contest began with little forewarning other than a
slight increase in enemy artillery and machine gun fire against Frisco
and a light probe against Detroit. At 1836 on 2 October, the Com-
munists launched a heavy artillery and mortar barrage against Seattle
and Warsaw, and that part of the MLR nearest Seattle. Exactly one
hour later, the preparation on the outposts lifted, permitting the
enemy attack force to strike. Not less than a company assaulted the
reinforced platoon on Warsaw, while a squad moved against the
Seattle defenders. Warsaw fell in about 45 minutes, 20 Seattle held
out five minutes longer.
'''The outpost at the extreme right flank was given the name "Verdun" because of
its World War I connotation of "They shall not pass." Col. Leo J. Dulacki Itr to Hd,
HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 2 Jun 67, hereafter Dulacki Itr.
-" During the latter stage of the fight for Warsaw, a Chinese soldier tossed a grenade
into a bunker shared by five Marines. Private Jack W. Kelso, of 1/3/7, quickly picked
up the missile and ran outside with it. As he was throwing the grenade back to the
Chinese, it went off in his hand. Disregarding his wounds, the Marine moved back in-
side the shelter, directed the other four to return to the MLR. and went oustide to
cover their exit. As he was firing at the advancing Chinese soldiers, Private Kelso was
hit several times by enemy bullets. His "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk
of his life" was later recognized in the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
Immediately, plans for the recapture of both were made. At 2047,
Captain John H. Thomas dispatched a platoon from his company,
1/3/7, from the MLR to counterattack Warsaw. The platoon quickly
took the position, for the enemy had withdrawn. At Seattle, the result
was different. On 3 October, two squads from Company I departed
JAMESTOWN at 0340, but came under enemy artillery fire en route
to the objective. The squads worked their way forward nevertheless,
but were unable to take the outpost. Captain Thomas then recalled
the force, which reached JAMESTOWN at dawn. Later that day, just
before dusk, air and artillery placed a smoke screen on Seattle while
two squads advanced toward the outpost. When the counterattack
met stiff resistance, a squad-size reinforcement 21 was sent from
the MLR. Together the three units attempted to retake the position,
but were forced to pull back because of heavy casualties. As the
infantry again regrouped, Lieutenant Colonel Bert Davis, Jr.'s 2/11
fired preparatory barrages on the Chinese occupying Seattle. At 2225
the Marines assaulted the outpost again; as before, overpowering
Chinese artillery and grenades inflicted such high casualties that the
counterattackers were compelled to withdraw.
By this time, action at the two outposts had resulted in 101 Marine
casualties, including 13 killed. By sundown on 3 October, the regi-
ment had been forced off the two COPs and had been able to retake
only one of them. Against Warsaw, the one that the Marines had
recaptured, the Chinese immediately launched a counterattack. At
0145 on 4 October a platoon struck the position. This time the
Warsaw garrison held, inflicting losses on the CCF and receiving
none. The Chinese made an unsuccessful attempt against Frisco at
2300 on 5 October, when a squad attempted to drive the Marines
from the outpost.
The enemy's repeated attacks and apparent determination to seize
commanding terrain, plus the heavy casualties suffered by 3/7, led
the 7th Marines to reinforce its MLR at 1200 on 5 October. At this
time the right battalion sector then held by 3/7, was split into two
sectors and the regimental reserve, 1/7 (Lieutenant Colonel Leo J.
Dulacki) took over the far right of the 3/7 line, assuming respon-
21 This squad was from Company A (Captain Frederick C. McLaughlin), which came
under the operational control of 3/7 at 1130 on 3 October, relieving Company C (Cap-
tain Paul B. Byrum). The latter company had r?ported to the 3d Battalion from
regimental reserve at 2130 the previous day. Company D was sent immediately to re-
inforce the hard-pressed Company I.
Operations in West Korea
sibility for Warsaw and Verdun. 22 The 7th Marines thus had all
three of its battalions on line with the regimental front manned, from
the left, by 2/7, 3/7, and 1/7.
During the next 30 hours, the Communists launched a series of
strong probing actions against the regimental outposts of the 7th
Marines. Although the numerical strength used in these widespread
limited objective attacks did not exceed that employed in previous
large-scale outpost offensives, the scope of the operation on 6 and 7
October and the well-coordinated attacks indicated careful and
detailed planning. Each move against the five outposts and two MLR
positions attacked was preceded by unusually close attention to
artillery and mortar preparation. This was to a degree unprecedented
even when measured against those massive concentrations that had
characterized Communist operations since the Chinese intervention
in the war late in 1950.
Prior to the Communist general attack, the Marines made another
attempt to retake Seattle. Leaving Jamestown at 0600 on 6 October,
a C/l/7 reinforced platoon was halted by solid resistance in the
form of exploding artillery and mortar rounds. The forces returned
to the MLR, reorganized, and jumped off again. At 0815, a two-
squad reinforcement was dispatched from the main line. Meanwhile,
the enemy, estimated at platoon reinforced strength, doubled his
garrison, using troops from his outpost line. By 0900, a heavy fire
fight was in progress, supported by artillery and mortars on both
sides. Marines called on air in support of the attack, but the com-
bined air and infantry action was unable to penetrate enemy defenses.
Finally, at 1100, after five hours of close heavy fighting, the Marines
broke contact and retired, bringing with them 12 dead and 44
wounded. Estimates of enemy losses totaled 71.
That evening, at dusk, artillery and mortar fire began falling on
outpost positions across the entire regimental front and at two loca-
tions on the MLR. At the same time an estimated Chinese reinforced
battalion in a coordinated effort advanced toward the Marine line
and at 1930 assaulted the seven positions that had just been under
artillery preparation. By midnight an estimated 4,300 rounds of
artillery fire and 104 rounds of counterbattery fire had fallen on
Marine positions. In the regimental left manned by 2/7 (Lieutenant
22 At the same time one company, 1/3/7, became the regimental reserve, having been
relieved on the MLR at 1500 the previous day by A/l/7.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
Colonel Caputo) the attacks appeared to be more of a diversion —
merely probes by small units, which showed little inclination to press
the attack. Carson, the most western COP held by the regiment,
reported that the enemy soldiers withdrew at 2050. Two hours
later Reno, the next outpost to the east, radioed to the MLR that the
Chinese had just ceased their attacks at that forward post. A total
of 12 Marines were wounded in these two actions.
On the far right, in Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's sector, a rein-
forced CCF platoon poured over the Warsaw defenses at 1930.
Immediately the outpost Marines called for the friendly artillery
box. As these protective fires were being delivered all communication
at the outpost was severed by hostile fire. Enemy artillery continued
at a heavy rate. By 2000, however, communication was reestablished
between the COP and MLR. The first message from the besieged
outpost was a request for more artillery. With additional fire support
and continued stiff outpost resistance, the Chinese at 2055 relin-
quished their quest to regain Warsaw.
The enemy's most determined assaults on the night of 6-7 October
were made upon a pair of outposts, Detroit and Frisco, manned by
the middle battalion, 3/7 (Lieutenant Colonel Gerald F. Russell).
Two jamestown areas in this sector were also attacked, but only
briefly. The assault against the outposts was executed by a Chinese
battalion which sent one company against Detroit and another
against Frisco, east of Detroit. Both outposts were manned by two
squads of Marines.
At Detroit, the Company G Marines reported that the initial attack
made at 1940 on 6 October by a Chinese company had been rebuffed.
The enemy did succeed, however, in advancing to the outpost trench-
line. Strong defensive fires prevented him from exploiting this initial
gain by occupying any of the bunkers, and the attackers were forced
to pull back. After regrouping, the Chinese returned at 2100 and
again were able to secure a foothold at the main trench.
Marine artillery assisted the outpost defenders in repulsing this
new attack, but not before Chinese interdictory fires had disrupted
all communications between the COP and its MLR support company.
Some Chinese had also moved south in the vicinity of the MLR,
but these attacks were neither persistent nor heavily supported. At
2115 the last of the enemy intruders had withdrawn from the MLR.
At about this same time, 3/7 heard Detroit request overhead VT
Operations in West Korea
fires, but shortly after this the battalion again lost contact with the
Two squads were then sent out to reinforce the position. They
were stopped, however, by heavy Chinese artillery barrages. At the
outpost, Marine artillery fires had forced the Chinese to retreat, but
at 0015 the enemy reappeared at the trenchline. The artillery regi-
ment once again applied the overhead fire remedy, but with less
success — the Chinese, neither retreating nor advancing, took cover
in the trenches. During the long night, attempts to reestablish com-
munications with Detroit had proved fruitless, although battalion
radio operators reported that they had heard Chinese language
coming over one of the Marine radio nets used by the COP. A six-
man reconnaissance detail was sent forward to investigate. It returned
at 0355 with the information that Detroit was now held by the
enemy. Two wounded Marines had escaped; the rest of the Detroit
garrison had fallen to the enemy. At 0630 the Marines withdrew
after heavy fighting that had lasted more than 10 hours.
During the earlier part of the night, while the battle for outpost
control raged at Detroit, reinforcements had also been dispatched
to Frisco to help stabilize the situation at this adjacent Company
H/3/7 outpost. Like Detroit, it had been attacked by a Chinese
company, beginning about 2000. An hour and a half later some of
the enemy had made their way into the trenchline, but were repulsed
with the help of friendly artillery VT. Shortly after midnight the
enemy again probed Frisco and reached the trenchline. At 0115,
two squads jumped off from jamestown, but a rain of Chinese
artillery interrupted their progress. Throughout the early morning
hours of 7 October, Company H and I units were sent out from
the MLR to buttress the Frisco defense and stem the enemy attack.
At 0510, a reinforced platoon from the reserve company was sent
to renew the counterattack. It was this Company I unit that finally
restored control of the COP to the Marines. 23 Another reinforcing
23 During the predawn attempt to retake Frisco on 7 October, Staff Sergeant Lewis
G. Watkins, 1/3/7, although already wounded, led his rifle platoon in the assault
against Frisco. When an enemy machine gun impeded their progress, Staff Sergeant
Watkins grabbed a wounded man's automatic rifle to help get the assault moving for-
ward again. At that instant, an enemy grenade landed in the midst of the Marines. Staff
Sergeant Watkins immediately seized it. Just as he was about to hurl it away it ex-
ploded in his hand. The grenade took the sergeant's life but he had saved his fellow
Marines. For his bravery Staff Sergeant Watkins was posthumously awarded the Medal
Outpost Fighting Expanded
platoon arrived at the outpost just as the Marines there had evicted
the remaining Chinese assault forces. At 0715, 7 October, Frisco
was declared secure.
Its precarious position, however, demanded either an investment
of more outpost troops to retain possession of it or else its abandon-
ment, in conjunction with other measures to neutralize loss of the
position. At 1804 that day the latter course was instituted. The 7th
Marines reported that the enemy had suffered an estimated 200 KIA
and unknown WIA as a result of the bitterly contested outpost
attacks on 6-7 October. Marine casualties were listed as 10 killed,
22 missing, 105 wounded and evacuated, and 23 not-seriously
In all, during the first week in October, the 1st Marine Division
gave up six outposts, or forward positions, that had been sited on
some of the commanding ground in the Marine area. On the division
left, COPs 37, 36, and 86 were the ones most removed from the
Korean MLR and thus easily susceptible to being overrun by the
enemy at will and to his early reinforcement. 24 The division theorized
that near winter and the subsequent freezing of the Sachon would
facilitate the movement of Chinese troops and supplies across the
river to new positions. The enemy was now able to operate patrols
east of the river without interference. At the opposite side of the
division MLR, on its right flank, Detroit, Frisco, and Seattle had
been lost. By gaining this string of outposts, the enemy was better
able to exert pressure against other Marine positions forward of the
line and the critical ground on Jamestown.
To counter this threat, General Pollock strengthened the outposts
close to the MLR and increased his patrolling requirements. It was
decided that in some cases the mission of the COP — that of providing
early warning of impending attack and slowing it down — could be
accomplished as effectively by using patrols and listening posts at
By these activities, the Marines hoped to minimize the Chinese
gains and prevent the launching of new attacks against either division
COPs or jamestown. The serious situation on the outposts was
compounded by existing political considerations, which prevented the
Marines from initiating any real offensive campaigns. Moreover, any
24 FMFPac, IstMarDiv Sum, Jul-Oct 52.
Operations in West Korea
hill taken was invariably backed up by a still higher one, controlled
by the enemy. The key factor was not so much holding an individual
outpost as it was to insure that the enemy was unable to penetrate
the jamestown line.
More pressure, More CAS, More Accomplishments 2 *
Some of the enemy ground pressure against the outposts in September
and October had been relieved by the increase in the number of air
strikes received by the 1st Marine Division. De-emphasis of the Air
Force interdiction strategy in favor of striking the enemy wherever
(and whenever) it hurt him most had made available more aircraft
for close support of ground operations. 26 The UN commander,
General Clark, who had given the green light to the shift in USAF
policy and targets, followed the giant hydroelectric strike in June
with a mass attack the next month on 30 military targets located near
the North Korean Capital. During a year's freedom from air attack
(July 1951-July 1952) Pyongyang had become not only the major
logistics center for combat equipment and personnel but also the
focal point for command and control of Communist ground and air
Designated Operation pressure pump, the 11 July strike against
Pyongyang called for three separate attacks during daylight and a
fourth at night. This extended time over the target would give enemy
fighters more than ample time to take to the skies in defense of the
Capital. Because Pyongyang "was defended by 48 guns and more
than 100 automatic weapons, making it one of the worst 'flak traps'
in Korea," 27 there was considerable hazard in the operation. Added
2j Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpt
No. 5, Chap. 9; 1st MAW ComdDs, Jun-Oct 52; MAG-12 ComdDs, Jun, Sep 52;
MAG-33 ComdD, Aug 52; MACG-2 ComdD, Sep 52; VMA-312 ComdDs, Sep-Oct
52; VMA-323 ComdDs, Jun-Jul, Sep 52; VMF(N)-513 ComdDs, Jun-Jul 52; VMJ-1
ComdD, Jul 52; Cagle and Manson, Sea War, Korea; Clark, Danube to Yalu; Field,
NavOps, Korea; Futrell, USAF, Korea; Rees, Korea.
20 The 1st MAW chief of staff during this period, then Colonel Samuel S. Jack,
offered the opinion that "the Fifth Air Force was most sympathetic to Division require-
ments for close air support from Wing sources. The Eighth Army in the Joint Opera-
tions Center proved to be the principal limiting factor in the assignment of air in
accordance with these requests. Also, requirements that Division CAS requests filter
through I Corps and JOC constituted a major factor in Wing response." Jack llr.
27 Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 482.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
danger to the pilots resulted from the decision to forewarn the North
Korean civilian population of the air assault. General Clark ex-
plained the reason for dropping warning leaflets prior to the attack
The objective was in part humanitarian and in part practical . We had
to hit Pyongyang because the Communists had made it a major military
headquarters and stockpile area. We wanted to warn the people away from
danger areas. By warning them away we disrupted their daily lives and
made it difficult for the Communists to maintain any kind of schedules in
their work in the city. 28
Results indicated that both the destructive and the psychological
aspects of the mission were successful. American, British, and ROK
planes completely destroyed 3 of the 30 military targets attacked.
Of the rest, only two escaped major damage:
According to . . . reports, the North Korean Ministry of Industry's
underground offices were destroyed and a direct hit on another shelter was
said to have killed 400 to 500 Communist officials. Off the air for two
days, Radio Pyongyang finally announced that the 'brutal' strikes had
destroyed 1,500 buildings and had inflicted 7,000 casualties. 29
Of the far-reaching effect of the leaflets, the UN commander later
The warning leaflets, coupled with the bombing, hurt Nerth Korean
civilian morale badly. The very audacity of the United Nations in warning
the Communists where bombers would strike hurt morale because it em-
phasized to the North Koreans just how complete was UN mastery of
the air. Contrarily, it made them see even more clearly that the Com-
munists were ineffectual in their efforts to ward off our air blows. . . .
As a result of the warnings, the bombings, the failure of the Communists
to provide protection, and the refusal of the Communists to permit evacua-
tion of the clearly defined target areas, civilian resentment was channeled
away from the UNC bombers and towards the Communist rulers. 30
The record set by the 1,254 sorties flown in this 11 July operation
was to last only seven weeks. On 29 August, 1,403 sorties were em-
ployed in a new strike against the Capital. The massed raids against
military targets in Pyongyang, known as the "All United Nations Air
28 Clark, Danube to Yalu, pp. 208-209.
20 Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 482.
30 Clark, Danube to Yalu, p. 209. "I told you so" leaflets were dropped after the
raid to impress the inhabitants with the importance of believing the warning leaflets.
USAF, Ops in Korea, No. 127, pp. 36, 37.
Operations in West Korea
Effort" turned out to be the largest one-day air assault during the
entire three years of the Korean War. Again attacking at four-hour
intervals three times during daylight, Allied aircraft blasted a list of
targets that "read like a guide to public offices in Pyongyang and
included such points of interest as the Ministry of Rail Transporta-
tion, the Munitions Bureau, Radio Pyongyang, plus many factories,
warehouses, and troop billets." 31 Of the 45 military targets in the
city, 31 received moderate-to-severe damage according to post-strike
Substitution of the previous interdiction strategy by PRESSURE at-
tacks brought increased close air support to frontline troops. As a
result of this expanded number of CAS sorties, wing pilots and
ground forward air controllers greatly increased their operational
proficiency. 32 The Marines were still not satisfied with the close sup-
port picture, however, and neither were a number of U.S. Army com-
manders. Some of the latter regarded General Clark as the champion
of more extensive close air support missions for frontline units, but
he quickly dispelled this view. Instead, he cautioned these supporters
of Marine-type close air support to accept the existing procedures,
which were derived from the "vast reservoir of experience . . . [repre-
senting] the composite view of senior members of the Armed Forces
[with] the longest and most responsible experience in close support
during World War II." 33 At the same time the UN commander, on
11 August 1952, had advised his force commanders to study the fac-
tors affecting the close air support situation in Korea and comment
on certain UNC proposals for improving the CAS system.
In the close air support picture for the Marines, October was a
bright month. In the outpost battles of early October, the 1st MAW
put 319 sorties in the air during both day and night to strike, strafe,
bomb, and burn enemy positions and troops facing General Pollock's
division. A new level of achievement had been reached during the
Bunker Hill battle in August. That month nearly 1,000 aircraft, pre-
dominantly Marine, loosed ordnance at targets on and near the
Chinese MLR and OPLR.
During the first six months of Marine ground operations in defense
of jamestown, wing squadrons and pilots had made major contri-
31 Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 489.
PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, p. 9-53.
33 Ibid., p. 9-143.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
butions to the U.S. air effort in Korea. On 7 June 1952, First Lieu-
tenant John W. Andre, VMF(N)-513, piloting a World War II
model Corsair on a night armed reconnaissance mission over the west
coast of North Korea, shot down an enemy piston-driven Yak fighter.
It was the first time that a Russian-built plane of that model had been
knocked out of the skies at night by another plane. This aircraft was
also the fifth kill for the lieutenant, making him the first Marine
nightfighter ace in Korea. 34
Nearly three months after that record, another one emerged: the
first Marine to down an enemy jet with a propeller-driven aircraft.
Late on the afternoon of 10 September, Captain Jesse G. Folmar and
First Lieutenant Willie L. Daniels, both of VMA-312, had taken
off from the Sicily to attack an enemy troop concentration reported
to be south of Chinnampo, on the west coast just below the 39th
Parallel. Shortly after reaching the vicinity of the target, the Marine
Corsairs were jumped by a pair of MIG-15s. Two more Russian-
made jets tore into the fight. During a fast exchange of cannon and
machine gun fire, the Marine captain was able to score lethal hits on
one of the MIGs. When four more of them picked up the chase, the
vastly outnumbered Marines broke for home, heading westward in a
Captain Folmar's return to the Sicily was delayed almost im-
I had just started picking up good diving speed when I saw balls of
tracer ammo passing on my left and at the same instant felt a severe explo-
sion in my left wing ... I saw that the left aileron and four feet of my
left wing were gone/ 13
This damage caused the plane to rapidly go out of control. While
still able to maneuver, the Marine aviator headed for the sea and as
he neared it, bailed out of his Corsair and parachuted into the ocean.
A rescue plane out of Cho-do picked him up and returned the cap-
tain, who had sustained a slight shoulder injury, to the carrier. Lieu-
tenant Daniels, who had alerted the rescue force, circled his de-
scending flight leader until he hit the water. After ascertaining that
the waterborne flier's condition was satisfactory, the lieutenant turned
his plane towards the Sicily. In a short while he was safely home.
34 The first Marine night ace was Captain Robert Baird, who shot down six Japanese
planes between 9 June and 14 July 1945. Sherrod, Marine Aviation, p. 404. Lieu-
tenant Andre's first four planes were also downed during World War II. See Appendix
F for Marine air kills during the Korean War.
35 VMA-312 ComdD, Sep 52.
Operations in West Korea
In late September, Major Alexander J. Gillis, VMF-311, assigned
earlier that summer to the Air Force's 335th Fighter-Interceptor
Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, as an exchange pilot. 30 distinguished
himself by becoming not only the first naval aviator to destroy three
enemy aircraft in Korea but also the second one to get a multiple
killing in a single day. 37 Flying in a four-plane Sabrejet formation
near the vicinity of the mouth of the Yalu on 28 September, Major
Gillis led another plane after two MIG-15s. By superior pilot tech-
nique and aggressive tactics, he forced one of the enemy to crash
during a low altitude chase. Later on during the sortie, the Marine
initiated an attack on a solo MIG, closing on it and scoring hits that
caused the plane to become uncontrollable and the pilot to eject.
Major Gillis also had to eject from his F-86 after it became disabled
by the MIG. The incident had occurred on the Marine aviator's 50th
combat mission with the Air Force. He spent nearly four hours in
the Yellow Sea before a rescue helicopter picked him up.
Another feat, this one a study in determination and perseverance,
had occurred early in the summer. On 22 July, the VMJ-1 com-
mander, Lieutenant Colonel Vernon O. Ullman, had taken to the
air for a photo mission over North Korea in the vicinity of Sinanju,
located near the Yellow Sea 40 miles above Pyongyang. During the
first of seven scheduled flights, he encountered heavy flak but never-
theless completed his first mapping run in the area. Further, the
Marine flier decided that the antiaircraft menace was not going to
force him to abandon the remaining part of his task. He continued.
On the second of his seven runs, some 40 enemy jets (MIG-15s)
appeared on the scene. These were dissuaded from close-in inter-
ference, however, by the photo escort of 24 USAF single-engine
Sabrejet fighters. Thereafter, the Russian-made aircraft disappeared;
Lieutenant Colonel Ullman continued, despite the intense, accurate
enemy antiaircraft fire, until he concluded his mission.
30 The exchange program "appears to have originated with the participation — at Tac-
tical Air Command's invitation — of two Marine Corps and two Navy pilots ... in the
fall of 1947." Within two years, the program designed to "indoctrinate selected Air
Force and Navy pilots in the air operational and air training activities of each other's
service, had received Department of Defense approval." On 1 October 1949 the pro-
gram went into effect. Initially the exchange period was one year, but after the Korean
fighting broke out, the period was reduced to approximately three months. Marine
participation began late in 1951. Atch 1 to Hq, USAF (AFCHO) memo to Maj J. M.
Yingling, HQMC, dtd 16 Jan 67 in v. V, Korean comment file.
37 On 15 September, Major Gillis had shot down a solo MIG-15.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
The type of determination displayed by Lieutenant Colonel Ullman
helped Marine tactical squadrons achieve some kind of distinction
nearly every month from late spring to the fall of 1952. In May,
VMF-323 ("the Death Rattlers"), then commanded by Major
William A. Weir, established a squadron one-month record for
number of combat sorties, 1,160, and total combat hours, 2,362.7.
A high percentage of aircraft availability, 95.6, helped make this
mark possible. On 1 June, VMA-312 received the congratulations
of CTF 95 for its "outstanding performance under difficult condi-
tions" during the spring months. During this period the squadron,
based on board the USS Bataan, had been particularly hampered by
excessive turn-over of key squadron officers and flight leaders. This
continual squadron rotation resulted in considerable variation in
pilot indoctrination and need for field carrier landing qualification,
due to the "close tolerances in pilot skill required by carrier opera-
tions." 38 Despite these difficulties, VMA-312 had scored an impres-
sive 80-sortie mission, flown by 24 aircraft, on 18 April.
Additional recognition of professional excellence was conferred
upon Marine squadrons in July. On the 17th, the senior advisor to
the ROK I Corps expressed the gratitude of the corps commander
for the magnificent support the 1st MAW pilots had provided during
the second week of the month. All four attack squadrons in MAG-12
and both fighter units in MAG-33 had taken part in these CAS
missions. A week later, eight planes from Lieutenant Colonel Henry
S. Miller's VMA-323, (which, along with Lieutenant Colonel
Graham H. Benson's VMA-212, had been redesignated from fighter
to attack squadrons the previous month), completed an unusually
successful interdiction mission at Hago.
Located 25 miles northwest of Kaesong, the village reportedly was
the site of heavy troop concentrations, active mortar positions, and
antitank weapons. Leaving K-6 at 1725, the eight Marine VMA-323
pilots were soon over the target. Comprising the Death Rattler's
flight were Majors John M. Dufford, Raymond C. Holben, William
H. Irvin, Jr., and Curtis E. Knudson; Captain John Church, Jr.; First
Lieutenant William A. Poe, Jr.; and Second Lieutenants Stuart L.
Spurlock and James S. Thompson. At 1810 their attacks were
launched, using 1,000-pound bombs, napalm, rockets, and 20mm am-
PacFlt EvalRpt, No. 4, Chap. 10, p. 10-77.
Operations in West Korea
munition. The strike was over almost as soon as it had started, and
when the Marines departed, not one building remained in useful
condition. But it was not until several days later that the final results
of the strike were known. Intelligence sources reported that the raid
had caught the enemy troops at the evening meal; more than 500 had
been killed by the Corsairs, aptly called "Whistling Death" by the
Japanese in World War II.
For the remainder of the summer and into the fall Marine groups
and squadrons continued their record-breaking and efficient support
of ground troops and naval forces. With four squadrons (two day,
one night-fighter, and one photo), MAG-33 sent 141 sorties against
the enemy on 6 August. This one-day group record occurred just
before the departure of Colonel Condon, who turned over the reins
of the organization to Colonel Herbert H. Williamson on the 11th,
and then took command of MAG-12.
Shortly before Colonel Condon relinquished command, he was
particularly pleased by the success of a four-plane strike by VMF-311
(Major William J. Sims) in support of the U.S. 25th Infantry Divi-
sion commanded by Brigadier General Samuel T. Williams. Major
Johnnie C. Vance, Jr., strike leader, was accompanied in this flight
by Captain George R. Brier and Second Lieutenants Charles E.
Pangburn and Whitlock N. Sharpe. Up until this time the infantry
had been particularly harassed by several enemy frontline fortifica-
tions and supporting artillery. The four pilots destroyed three bunkers
and two heavy guns and also caved in approximately 50 feet of
trenchline on the 7 August strike. Upon learning of the success of
the Marine pilots and the conditions under which the attacks were
carried out — dangerous terrain and constant ground fire directed
towards the planes — the general dispatched a letter, commending the
"skill, courage, and determination displayed by these pilots. . . ." 39
Another congratulatory message was received in September, this
one from General Pollock for the excellent support given by MAG-
12 on the 20th. With three attack squadrons participating, Colonel
Condon's group had neutralized Chinese weapons and troops at
OP 36 to help prevent a takeover of the Korean position. The pilots
reported well over 100 Chinese casualties. Lieutenant Colonel Ken-
neth R. Chamberlain's VMA-323 contributed most of the 23 Marine
MAG-33 ComdD, Aug 52, p. 16.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
sorties. The other attacking squadrons were VMA-121 (Lieutenant
Colonel Wayne M. Cargill, who 10 days earlier had relieved Lieu-
tenant Colonel Crawford), and VMA-212, commanded by Lieuten-
ant Colonel Maurice W. Fletcher.
September was a month of mixed fortunes in the air war over
Korea. The successful CAS strikes of the 20th followed only a few
days after another high point set on 14 September, when Lieutenant
Colonel Cargill's attack squadron flew its 5,000th combat sortie since
arrival in the Korean theater in October 1951. Then on 15 September,
General Jerome commissioned a new kind of unit in the wing,
Marine Composite Squadron 1 (VMC-l), whose mission was to
provide electronic counter-measures (ECM) for UN aircraft. Lieu-
tenant Colonel Lawrence F. Fox headed the squadron, the only one
in the naval service with an ECM primary mission in Korea.
Three days after the commissioning, a strange incident trans-
pired. North of the UN line and at an altitude of 9,500 feet, a F-84
Thunderjet fighter, with U.S. Air Force markings and insignia, at-
tacked a propeller-driven Air Force trainer. The slower plane im-
mediately began defensive maneuvering, flying in tight circles. After
making five turns, the trainer pilot saw the supposedly friendly jet
fly off. ff
It was believed that such a paradoxical occurrence was due to
the substantial number of F-84 losses and the enemy's ability to
piece together and fly an aircraft of that model. A few similar
episodes — attacks by apparently friendly aircraft on UN planes — had
previously taken place. In each case, the impostor was a model of
U.S. aircraft that had suffered particularly heavy losses.
Another incident in September had dire consequences. On the
10th, MAG-33 dispatched 22 fighter aircraft from VMF-115 (Lieu-
tenant Colonel Royce W. Coin) to attack reported troop concentra-
tions near Sariwon, 35 miles directly south of Pyongyang. The F9F
Panther jets had completed the strike and were returning to their
K-3 base when they were diverted to land at K-2, Taegu, where the
weather was better. Fog had suddenly swept over the field at K-3,
reducing visibility to zero. Sixteen Panthers landed safely at K-2,
45 miles southwest of the Marine field at Pohang. The remaining
six, piloted by Majors Raymond E. Demers and Donald F. Givens,
First Lieutenant Alvin R. Bourgeois, and by Second Lieutenants John
W. Hill, Jr., Carl R. Lafleur, and Richard L. Roth, flying in forma-
Operations in West Korea
tion in poor weather, crashed into the side of a 3,000-foot mountain
while descending. 40 They would have required only an additional
600 feet of altitude to clear the summit.
Losses of Marine pilots and aircraft had been of growing concern
to the wing command. The initial success of the flak suppression fires
had eliminated the one successful Communist source of air defense,
accurate antiaircraft firing. One result was that noncombat accidents
for a while during the summer became the principal cause of pilot
and plane attrition. To help reduce these operational accidents as
well as the combat losses, the two Marine air groups instituted
squadron training programs and also directed the adoption of several
new corrective procedures. In MAG-12, for example, a study of
results from the FAF policy that limited bombing runs to one for
interdiction and two for CAS targets revealed a sharp reduction in
hits from flak. Tactical squadron commanders in MAG-12 drew up
a syllabus during September to test proposed defensive tactics for
their propeller aircraft to employ against enemy jets. The carrier
squadron, VMA-312, began that same month the additional practice
of field carrier landing qualification at K-6 for new pilots before
permitting them to operate from the carriers.
In spite of these efforts, pilot losses spiralled alarmingly in
October. For the rest of 1952, the monthly totals remained near that
month's level. On the other hand, aircraft losses during October
dropped sharply to 10 from the September total of 22. This lower
figure was not to be exceeded until May 1953- These remedial pro-
cedures were considered at least partially responsible for the substan-
tial decrease in aircraft losses.
In another area, a mid-October landing at Kojo, on the east coast
immediately south of the 39th Parallel, did not work out as planned.
The amphibious operation was in reality a feint intended to draw
troops away from frontline positions and expose them to naval air
and gunfire as they rushed in reinforcements. The enemy failed to
rise to the bait, and actually only a few Communist troops were
sighted. VMA-312 provided armed reconnaissance, tactical air opera-
tion, and naval gunfire spotting during the feint. Although they
made little enemy contact, the Marine "Checkerboard" pilots operat-
40 Although not definitely proven, there were "some indications of false radio beacons
being used by the enemy in clandestine operations in the K-2 area." Jack l/r.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
ing off the Sicily gained much experience in landings and take-offs
under the adverse conditions of rough seas and high winds.
Rockets, Res up ply, and Radios* 1
Through October 1952, operational control of Korean based Marine
fighter and attack squadrons was still vested in commanders other
than General Jerome. Tactical squadrons continued to be directed by
the FAF or Navy in their missions; the observation and helicopter
squadrons were under operational control of the 1st Marine Division
and utilized, as before, at its discretion.
HMR-161, commanded since 8 August by Lieutenant Colonel
John F. Carey, continued its primary mission of evaluating rotary
wing aircraft and their methods of employment. One tactical inno-
vation, movement of elements of the 4.5-inch Rocket Battery, was
undertaken during August soon after the Bunker Hill battle. With
ground-fired rockets, the problem of a tell-tale cloud of dust and
brilliant flash of the rockets after each salvo had always plagued
the artillerymen. This seldom went unnoticed by the enemy, who
often showered the marked area with counterbattery fire. On 19 and
20 August, in Operation ripple, HMR-161 and the rocket battery
proved that these two units could successfully shoot and scoot to a
new location and fire effectively again without drawing an enemy
reprisal. This Marine Corps innovation in air mobility — the first
displacement of field artillery under combat conditions — offered a
major time-saving advantage. Whereas previously it took approxi-
mately a half-hour for rocket launchers to move from their bivouac
area to firing position, 42 deployment by helicopter could be made in
a matter of minutes, a time factor that could be critical in event of
an enemy attempted breakthrough.
The operation demonstrated that helicopters not only could trans-
port rocket crews with weapons and ammunition to firing areas far
more rapidly than conventional wheeled vehicles, but that the rotary
craft could airlift these weapons into places inaccessible by road.
The nature of the mountainous terrain proved advantageous in that
41 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFll EvalRpl
No. 5, Chaps. 8, 9; 1st MAW ComdD, Oct 52; HMR-161 ComdDs Aug-Sep 52.
42 Henderson Itr III.
Operations in West Korea
hills and valleys provided defiladed areas for loading and firing
the weapons as well as protected routes for helicopter movements.
An observation made by pilots for operations in other types of
environment, not offering as much cover and concealment, was that
the shiny blue paint on their birds would make detection easy in
most surroundings and that camouflage paint would lessen the risk
from enemy AA.
Transport helicopters of HMR-161 continued to augment those of
VMO-6 in casualty evacuation and ferrying Marines and other front-
line troops. The observation squadron maintained its policy and out-
standing record of emergency flights of the wounded under any
weather conditions except dense fog (electronic navigational aids
still were not available) . In August, various mechanical failures de-
veloped among the newly received H05S-1 Sikorsky helicopters.
These three-place observation aircraft were underpowered but supe-
rior in many flight characteristics to the HTL-4 helicopters then in
the squadron. Mechanical difficulties with the newer aircraft increased
until it became necessary to ground them late in October until re-
placement parts became available in the supply system.
Employment of transport helicopters for logistical support con-
fined to be a principal use of such rotary wing aircraft as the end
of 1952 approached. Tests earlier in the year had proved the theory
that this versatile aircraft could resupply a battalion manning the
MLR. The next step was to determine if the logistical support for
an entire combat regiment could be accomplished by helicopter.
Operation haylift, conducted during 22-26 September, the last of
five operations that month for HMR-161, was to test and evaluate
helicopter resupply of Colonel Moore's 7th Marines. Plans called for
delivering all Class I, III, and V items and such Class II and IV
items as could be accommodated. Two loading and four unloading
sites were prescribed. All but extremely valuable cargo, such as mail,
was to be carried externally in slings or wire baskets.
haylift did show that at least for a short period of time — five
days— a helicopter squadron, utilizing 40 percent of its aircraft,
could sustain a MLR regiment. Following the general procedures
employed previously with the battalion, HMR-161 found that no
great changes were necessary for resupply" of the regiment. Two
recommendations emerged from an evaluation of haylift. One
stressed the need for establishment of an operations center manned
Outpost Fighting Expanded
by representatives of each unit participating in the exercise. The
second called for development of a more flexible loading system,
one that would permit rapid weight increases or decreases of 50
pound increments, as the situation demanded. Such a method would
make possible a more efficient payload for each lift. 43
Transport on a larger scale in the 1st MAW was accomplished by
General Jerome's few transport aircraft reinforced by the eight
R5Ds from the VMR-152 detachment. In June, the passenger-carrying
operations reached the peak for the entire Korean War; that month,
17,490 troops and military-associated civilians utilized the reinforced
wing transport aircraft. June 1952 was also the second busiest month
in freight transportation (7,397,824 pounds, nearly double the figure
for June 1951).
Squadrons that were unable to better their performance records
in some cases could trace their trouble to the inability to get all of
their planes off the ground. Several models were subject to spare
parts shortages. 44 New aircraft, the F3D-2s and the AU-ls received
in June by VMF(N)-513 and VMA-212, respectively, had preceded
an adequate stocking of normal replacements for worn out or defec-
tive parts. The night fighter squadron was handicapped also by
introduction into the supply system of inadequate radio tubes, which
burned out rapidly. The most critical shortage, however, was parts
for starter units of jet engines. This deficiency was not corrected
until summer. One problem never quite eliminated was the confusion
of supply orders intended for the helicopters in HMR-161 and
VMO-6. It was believed that the close resemblance of Sikorsky HRS
and H05S part numbers and nomenclatures had caused the im-
properly-marked requisitions and mix-up.
The 1st Marine Division logistical situation during the summer
and fall of 1952 was generally excellent. General Pollock's units
did not suffer from the shortage of spare parts experienced by the
1st MAW whose aircraft sometimes had to be grounded because of
a missing spare part. U.S. Army support in the replacement of
,:i For example, on 25 September, rain soaked the cardboard cover of the rations, add-
ing extra weight to each preloaded lift of these Class I supplies. On the other hand, a
heavier load could have been used at times. As the helicopter used up its fuel, a com-
mensurate increase in cargo could have been carried.
" Spare parts shortages are "inherent in the introduction of new equipment into the
field and prior to the development of usage data." a major effort was made at this time
by 1st MAW to improve its critical spare parts support by improved stock control pro-
cedures and complete inventory. ]ack llr.
Operations in West Korea
worn-out Marine vehicles for new Army ones proved satisfactory.
No major problems arose in engineer support. Medical evacuation
and treatment and the level of supplies in the five companies of the
1st Medical Battalion remained excellent.
There were two significant changes in the logistical support pro-
vided the Marine division early in the fall. One dealt with employ-
ment of the division's 1st and 7th Motor Transport Battalions,
located in the rear support areas. Beginning in September, the com-
panies were placed in direct support of the four infantry regiments,
with liaison by Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth E. Martin, division motor
transport officer. It was believed this decentralization would have
the following advantages:
1. Decreased vehicle mileage and therefore less driver fatigue
and prolonged vehicle life.
2. Increased dispersal as a safeguard against loss of wheeled
vehicle support in event of an unexpected and successful enemy
The other change was a shift in the emphasis of support rendered
by the Korean Service Corps. During October, each of the three
frontline regiments received 300 more laborers, raising the total to
800. Rear area units paid for the increase, since the KSCs were de-
tached from support units and sent forward to the MLR.
Logistical support from the 1st Signal Battalion left little to be
desired. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John E. Morris 43 when
the Marines moved to western Korea, the signalmen helped establish
and maintain an extensive communications net, with 5,200 miles of
wire within the division and several vital links to adjacent and higher
commands. 40 Wiremen worked around the clock to lay and maintain
the telephone lines, which suffered considerable damage from the
artillery and mortar barrages. When possible, the signalmen raised
the wires off the ground. The battalion set in more than 1,400 tele-
phone poles. After the system had been installed and was working
efficiently, the July floods washed away part of the major communi-
45 On 4 April Lieutenant Colonel Alton L. Hicks assumed command of the battalion;
Lieutenant Colonel Jacob E. Glick relieved him on 3 August.
40 Communication with General Kendall's I Corps consisted of radio-teletype, tele-
phone, radio relay, courier plane, and motor messenger. PacFll EvalRpl No. 5, p. 8-68.
The 11th Marines also had an additional 1,100 miles of communication wire. Hender-
son Itr III.
Outpost Fighting Expanded
cations. By improvising and by setting up emergency equipment, the
battalion was able to maintain the flow of communications traffic at
a satisfactory level. Replacement items were provided by the U.S.
Army on a reimbursable basis in accordance with existing directives.
In September it became apparent that the signal equipment used
to maintain division communications was no longer equal to the
demands placed upon it. The extensive ground area plus the number
and size of reinforcing units had not only put a heavy burden on
radio, telephone, and teletype equipment but also caused the deple-
tion of reserve stocks. With the spare equipment in use, there was
no pool to draw upon when units turned in defective equipment for
repair. Neither were there available replacements for materiel de-
stroyed by enemy action. Items most urgently needed were flown in
from the States. Other critical parts came from Army sources in
Japan and Korea. By the end of October, the communication resupply
had returned to a more normal condition.
Before the month ended a different type of critical situation was
to confront the division. It appeared that the enemy's success in
seizing a half-dozen outposts earlier in October had only whetted
his appetite for more. Chinese eyes were turned towards positions
that held still more potential value than the stepping-stones just
acquired. The extreme right battalion in the division front held by
the 7th Marines was the focal point of the new effort.
Before the Battle — Preparations for Attack and Defense-
Attack on the Hook — Reno Demonstration — Counterattack-
Before the Battle 1
AFTER THE heavy FIGHTING in early October, there was a change
. in the 1st Marine Division dispositions. On the 12th, the 5th
Marines relieved the 1st in the center sector and the latter regiment
went into reserve. For the next two weeks the lull that prevailed
across the regimental front was in sharp contrast to the intense
fighting there earlier in the month. On the division left, the Korean
Marines, not engaged in any sizable Communist action, conducted
frequent tank-infantry reconnaissance patrols and ambushes forward
of their MLR. In the center of the division line the 5th Marines, too,
found their Chinese opponent seemingly reluctant to pursue any
combat offensives, though his harassment of the Bunker Hill area
represented the strongest action against the Marine division at this
time. The 7th Marines, holding down the right sector, similarly en-
countered the enemy for only brief periods, these contacts during
patrol actions lasting no more than 15 to 30 minutes.
Upon its relief from the MLR, the 1st Marines took over the
division rear area. There the regiment continued the improvement of
the secondary defensive lines, conducted extensive training, and dis-
patched numerous security patrols throughout the regimental area.
1 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: CG, IstMarDiv,
Info for CG, FMFPac; IstMarDiv ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 706-736, dtd
1-31 Oct 52; 7thMar ComdD, Oct 52; LtCol Robert D. Heinl, Jr. memo to Dir, MarCor
Hist, HQMC, dtd 28 Oct 52, Subj: Notes on 7th Marines' Action (Defense of "The
Hook"), 26-27 Oct 52, hereafter Heinl, memo.
Operations in West Korea
These routine reserve roles were in addition to the primary mission
of augmenting units on the Marine MLR in order to counterattack
and defeat any attempted penetration of jamestown in the division
area. As part of its counterattack mission, the divisional reserve regi-
ment was to be prepared for employment anywhere in the I Corps
sector to block an enemy advance.
On the division right, the 7th Marines remained on position in
defense of jamestown. Following the bitter outpost contests on
6 October, Colonel Moore continued to retain all three battalions
on line: 2/7 on the left, 3/7 in the center, and 1/7 on the right.
The regimental commander had found it necessary to commit his
three battalions on line due to the vastly overextended six-mile
front, the rugged terrain, and the very real possibility of a major
Communist attack anywhere along the MLR. With all battalions
forward, Colonel Moore was left with a very small reserve, one
company from 3/7. This battalion had to use as its reserve what
had become known as "clutch platoons" — units composed of cooks,
bakers, clerks, motor transport, and other Marine headquarters per-
sonnel. These local reserves, and even the reserve company from 3/7,
could be employed only with the regimental commander's approval.
Line jamestown, in the 7th Marines area, meandered from the
vicinity of the burned-out village of Toryom, on the left, to the Hook
salient in the right battalion sector and from there southeast to the
Samichon River, the boundary with the 1st Commonwealth Division.
From the left battalion sector to the right, the terrain gradually
grew more rugged until the hills finally spilled over into the Sami-
chon Valley. To the rear of the MLR, the ground was less jagged;
forward of the line, the hills were more precipitous in character.
The steepest heights were in the right battalion sector. Highest
terrain feature along Colonel Moore's MLR was Hill 146, located
not far from the Hook. Throughout the 7th Marines sector rice
paddies covered the narrow valley floors between the hills. Vegeta-
tion was sparse. A series of dirt roads and trails served the regi-
Combat outposts varied greatly as to their distance from james-
town. Farthest from the line were the three in the left battalion
sector, manned by Lieutenant Colonel Caputo's 2/7. This trio,
Carson, Reno, and Vegas, were approximately 1,000 yards forward
of the MLR. Berlin and East Berlin (a new outpost established on
13 October) were the forward positions in the center line outposted
by Lieutenant Colonel Charles D. Barrett's 2 Marines. To the right
Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's 1/7 sector held three — COPs Ronson,
Warsaw, and Verdun, the latter near the Commonwealth border.
Ronson was the outpost nearest to the Hook, a major defensive
position of the regiment. The importance of this part of the MLR,
in the extreme eastern sector, lay not in its strength but rather in its
weakness. Jutting as it did towards the Communist lines, the salient
formed a J-shaped bulge in the main line, which not only gave the
Hook its nickname but also established the vulnerability of the
position. Its susceptibility to capture derived both from violation
of a defensive axiom that the "MLR should not have sharp angles
and salients" 3 and to the fact that the ridgeline on which the Hook
was located continued northwest into Communist-held territory.
Seattle, which the Chinese had seized on 2 October, lay only about
500 yards northwest of the Hook.
In spite of its vulnerability, the Hook could not be abandoned.
There was no other terrain feature held by the Marines that could
command the critical Samichon Valley, a major avenue of approach
from the northeast directly to Seoul. The salient also dominated
the entire nearby area of the Imjin River to the south. Possession
of the Hook and adjoining ridge would give the Communists obser-
vation of a substantial portion of the Marine rear areas beyond the
Imjin, as well as the vital river crossings. In the opinion of Major
General M. M. Austin-Roberts- West, whose 1st Commonwealth
Division was soon to take over the Hook sector, had the salient
been lost, "a withdrawal of 4,000 yards would have been necessary." 4
At the beginning of October, this vital area had been protected
by COPs Seattle and Warsaw. When the former was overrun, it
became necessary to establish a new position. This was directed by
Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki, and on 16 October Ronson was estab-
2 Responsibility for this part of the 7th Marines line changed on 13 October, when
Lieutenant Colonel Barrett took command of 3/7 from Lieutenant Colonel Russell. The
latter then was assigned as division senior liaison officer to the KMC regiment.
3 Heinl, memo. The originator of this memo, Lieutenant Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr.,
was an experienced Marine officer and military historian who had just been assigned to
the division for duty. Temporarily attached to the 7th Marines as an observer, his brief
visit there happened to coincide with the beginning of the Hook battle.
4 Quoted in LtCol Herbert F. Wood, Strange Battleground : The Operations in Korea
and Their Effects on the Defense Policy of Canada (Ottawa: The Army Historical Sec-
tion, Canadian Forces Headquarters, 1966), p. 213-
Operations in West Korea
lished 200 yards southeast of Seattle and 275 yards west of tne
Hook. About 600 yards northeast of the salient the remaining
position, COP Warsaw, commanded the lowlands to the east and the
narrow, east-west oriented valley of a Samichon tributary immedi-
ately to the front.
Opposite the three MLR battalions of the 7th Marines were the
356th and 357th Regiments of the 119th Division, 40th CCF Army.
In addition to these infantry units, numbering close to 7,000, an
estimated 10 battalions (120 guns) of Chinese artillery 5 were facing
Colonel Moore's regiment. Personnel strength of the American unit
consisted of 3,844 Marines, 11 medical officers and 133 corpsmen,
3 U.S. Army communicators, and 764 Koreans (746 KSCs and 18
During the summer and early fall, the 7th Marines had amassed
considerable information about the enemy, including Chinese
strength and composition of forces and many of their combat char-
acteristics. Encroachment on Marine ground positions by steadily
creeping the CCF trenchline forward continued to be the enemy's
major ground-gaining tactic. In fact, the Chinese units facing the
Marine division concentrated their digging during the fall of 1952
in the sector north of the 7th Marines MLR. (See Map 15.) Other
intelligence, however, seemed open to question. For example, there
was the reported frontline presence of women among the 90 Chinese
who had engaged a 2/1 patrol on 5 October as well as the sighting
in the KMC sector on the 17th of enemy "super soldiers" far taller
than the ordinary Chinese. Many in the division found it difficult
to believe the statements of enemy prisoners. During interrogation
they invariably maintained that the mission of Chinese Communist
Forces in Korea was a "defensive" one.
The static battle situation encouraged the use of psychological
warfare. In attempting to influence the minds of their opponents
and weaken morale, the Chinese depended upon loudspeakers to
5 The Marine division artillery regiment reported that in late October nine battal-
ions of Chinese artillery, ranging from 75 or 76mm guns or howitzers to 122mm how-
itzers, opposed the 7th Marines. It was estimated that one other 122mm battalion was
also emplaced north of the right division sector. In addition to these CCF units, ele-
ments of a 152mm self-propelled howitzer unit were also believed to be in the area.
Late in November two batteries of 152mm howitzers were tentatively located about
4,000 yards west northwest of the Hook. Disposition had been determine.! "as a result
of crater analysis, shell reports, sound plots, and capabilities of the weapon." llthMar
ComdD, Nov 52, "Enemy Artillery Activity Rpts," Nos. 21, 23, dtd 1, 21 Nov. 52.
Operations in West Korea
carry their propaganda barrage across No-Man's-Land. Enemy em-
ployment of this technique was especially heavy during October. To
Marines, for example, Chinese directed pleas of "Go home and have
peace," "Surrender, we treat POWs well," "Leave Korea," "Marines,
come and get your buddies' bodies," and the like, often to the
accompaniment of music. On occasion, Chinese patrols left propa-
ganda pamphlets behind them in the KMC sector. Infrequently, the
enemy displayed signs along patrol routes urging Marines to sur-
render. Most of the Chinese psychological efforts were directed
against the Korean Marines.
In enemy employment of artillery, Marine frontline units and
division intelligence had become well aware of the vast improve-
ments the Communists had made in recent months. Aided by a
plentiful supply of ammunition, enemy guns and howitzers, including
the heavy 152mm weapon, frequently delivered concentrated fires
on critical positions in the division area. Marines felt the effects of
how well the Chinese had learned to mass their fires against a single
target for maximum destructive power. From the Marines, moreover,
the enemy had picked up the artillery box tactic, employing it for
the first time in their sector opposite Colonel Moore's regiment
during the early October outpost battles.
During those same clashes, the 11th Marines had observed how
the Chinese displaced some of their batteries well forward for more
effective artillery support of their attacking infantry. One enemy
artillery innovation had been noted the previous month by a Marine
AO; on 19 September a Chinese artillery piece was detected firing in
the open. Previous observations had indicated that the Chinese
generally used wooded areas or extensive bunker-type positions to
conceal their supporting weapons.
By the middle of October, 62.5 percent of the Chinese artillery
opposing General Pollock's division was located in positions north
of the 7th Marines. The importance the enemy put on the principle
of massed artillery fire and the improvement of their ammunition
supply can be seen in a remark attributed to a Chinese division
The enemy had organized an attack of two-battalion strength on our
first-line platoon. As the enemy were getting into their assembly area I
directed several volleys of rapid fire against them with a total expenditure
of about 120 rounds. That very evening the army commander rang me up
and said disapprovingly, 'You've expended a bit too much ammunition
today!' It seemed as though the army commander had detected precisely
what was in my mind. There was an instant change in his voice as he
said: 'Oh, comrade, it really could not be accounted as waste, but you must
know we are short of supplies.'
Scarcely two years had passed but the situation was completely altered.
In the present we had emplaced 120 guns to each kilometre of front line
so that in a rapid-fire bombardment of 25 minutes more than 20,000
rounds of ammunition could be hurled against the enemy positions. If the
fire used in supporting attacks and in repulsing enemy counter-attacks were
taken into account the total would reach 70,000 rounds. 6
Exaggerated as the numbers of guns and rounds may be, the basic
massing technique was in line with U.S. intelligence estimates at the
time. The remark also pointed to the importance the Chinese had
learned to place on employment of artillery, a shift in emphasis
that Colonel Moore's regiment was soon to experience in unprece-
Preparations for Attack and Defense'
Before the Hook battle erupted, the defensive fires that the 7th
Marines could draw upon were not overpowering in terms of num-
bers of units available. Only one battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Bert
Davis' 2/11, was in direct support of Colonel Moore's regiment.
In this mission, the 2/ll fires were reinforced by those of 1/11
(Lieutenant Colonel David S. Randall). In addition to these organic
units, the batteries of the 623d Field Artillery Battalion (155mm
howitzers) and one platoon of C Battery, 17th Field Artillery
Battalion (8-inch self-propelled howitzers) were readily available
to the 7th Marines. In all, 38 light, medium, and heavy pieces
constituted the artillery support of the right sector. 8 General support
was available from Lieutenant Colonel Raymond D. Wright's 4/11
and from the 4.2-inch Rocket Battery (Captain Donald G. Frier).
The 159th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm howitzers) and B
8 CPV, Recollections, p. 360.
7 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnls, 24-26 Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 729-732, dtd
24-27 Oct 52; 7th Mar, 1/7, VMA-323 ComdDs, Oct 52; Heinl, memo.
8 llthMar ComdD, Oct 52, App III, Sheet 3. Eighteen of the weapons (the 623d
Field Artillery Battalion) had just moved into the Marine sector and begun operating
on 14 October. The unit remained under I Corps operational control, with the mission
of providing general support reinforcing fire.
Operations in West Korea
Battery, 204th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm guns), like the other
Army units positioned in the Marine Division sector, reinforced the
fires of division artillery. Fire support from 1st Commonwealth
Division weapons within range of the Hook area could also be
Although the Army artillery units satisfied the heavy punch
requirement of the 11th Marines, commanded since 21 September
by Colonel Harry N. Shea, there was one basic element the regiment
lacked. This missing ingredient was a sufficient amount of ammuni-
tion for the howitzers. Defense of outposts and mainline positions
along the EUSAK front in early and mid-October 1952 consumed a
great deal of this type of ammunition. This heavy expenditure was
brought to the attention of the corps commanders by Eighth Army.
General Van Fleet pointed out that ammunition consumption rates
for both the 105mm and 155mm howitzers during these two critical
weeks in October not only exceeded the expenditures of the massive
Communist spring offensive in 1951 but also the UN counterstroke
that followed. 9
To help remedy the situation, the EUSAK commander urged "con-
tinuous command supervision to insure the maximum return for all
ammunition expended." 10 The general made it plain that he was
not changing his policy of exacting a heavy toll whenever the
enemy began an attack. This course had been followed by the 1st
Marine Division, but the Marines' ability to both restrict the
enemy's creeping tactics and simultaneously fight a siege-type war
was noticeably impeded. 11
As the end of October approached, the shortage of ammunition
was becoming a subject of increased concern to the frontline Marine
units. Daily allowances established for the last 11 days of the month
were 20 rounds of 105mm high explosive (HE) and 4.3 rounds of
155mm high explosive for each tube. 12 With such small quantities
9 Later in 1951, during the UN Summer-Fall offensive, ammunition consumption had
again risen sharply, creating concern among corps commanders and occasioning one of
them to remark to a subordinate, "We have the distinct impression that two of your
battalions are trying to compete for a world's record." Capt Edward C. Williamson, el. al.,
"Bloody Ridge," ms OCMH, 1951, cited in James A. Huston, The Sinews of War:
Army Logistics, 1775-1953 — The Army Historical Series (Washington: OCMH, 1966),
v. II, p. 632.
10 IstMaiDiv ComdD, Oct 52, App I, No. 19.
11 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, Chap. 8, p. 8-71.
12 I hid.
to fire and further restricted by an equally critical shortage of both
hand grenades and 81mm mortar rounds, Colonel Moore was almost
powerless to spike the Chinese preparations for assault of the
Hook. 13 Artillery fires were reserved for only the most urgent situa-
tions or for large bodies of troops. It was one observer's opinion that
the "enemy could show himself almost at will without receiving
fire, and that it was impossible either to harass or neutralize his
continual fortification activity, let alone embark upon systematic
destructive fires of the kind he was carrying out." 14
As a means of compensating for the shortage of 81mm mortar
and 105mm howitzer ammunition, the Marines reverted to a former
method of using machine guns. This technique, employed during the
trench warfare days of World War I but seldom thereafter, was
considered a useful expedient to discourage enemy defensive creep-
ing tactics as well as to deter his preparations for objective attacks.
The system required emplacing heavy machine guns both on and to
the rear of the MLR to fire into areas that troops used for assembly
or as check points. If the target was visible to the machine gunner,
he could take it under direct fire. At night, when the enemy operated
under cover of darkness, the machine guns fired into zones which
had already been registered in the daytime. Colonel Moore directed
his units on 23 October to resort to this expedient.
A 1st Marine Division daily intelligence report covering the 24-
hour period beginning at 1800 on 24 October noted that there was
"a marked increase in enemy artillery and mortar fire with an
estimated twelve hundred rounds falling in the CT 1010 area of the
7th Marines sector." 13 According to the division PIR there was also
an increased number of enemy troops observed that same day in
locations west and northwest of the Hook. Most of the fire was
directed against the Hook area of the MLR and on the two sentinels,
Ronson and Warsaw. Efforts by Marines and some 250 KSCs to
repair the damaged or destroyed bunkers, trenches, communications
lines, and tactical wire, during brief periods of relief from the
artillery deluges, were wiped out again by subsequent shellings.
13 For example, during the latter part of the month each rifle company in the Hook
battalion was limited to 150 hand grenades. The total 11-day allowance for Lieutenant
Colonel Dulacki's 81mm mortars was 475 rounds. 1/7 ComdD, Oct 52, App. III.
14 Heinl, memo.
15 IstMarDiv PIR 729, dtd 24 Oct 52, p. 2. Ronson, the Hook, and Warsaw are
within the 1,000-meter square, CT 1010.
Operations in West Korea
It would not be correct to say that 1 /7 remained entirely passive
at this time. Battalion weapons replied, though in faint voices barely
audible in the din created by Chinese firing. Regimental mortars
chimed in and so did 2/11, which fired 4l6 rounds in the 24 hours
ending at 1800 on the 24th. For that same period, tanks expended
137 rounds at active weapon positions firing on the Hook. One air
strike was directed against the enemy opposing the Hook battalion.
This attack by a quartet of Marine F9Fs from VMF-311 (Lieutenant
Colonel Arthur H. Adams) bombed and napalmed a troublesome
group of Chinese entrenched on the enemy MLR 750 yards east of
During the next 48 hours, the enemy continued his preparations
for an attack, concentrating his artillery fire on the Hook area.
Colonel Moore's battalions received approximately 2,850 artillery
and mortar rounds, most of which rained down on 1/7 to the right.
There, the heavy and continuous fire slowed Marine efforts to restore
their wrecked bunkers and trenches. Late on the 25th there was
some relief from the artillery bombardment, but by that time many
of the prophets on the line and in the rear area were uncertain only
as to the precise time of the unexpected Chinese attack.
Colonel Clarence A. Barninger, the division intelligence officer,
had himself alerted General Pollock to the implications of "the
intensification and character of enemy fires" 10 being received in the
1/7 sector. The intelligence evaluation was not based only on recent
events. A detailed study of Chinese capabilities and possible courses
of action had just been completed by the G-2 and his staff. In its
discussion of the early October outpost attacks in the division right,
the report concluded that Chinese interests lay in gaining the "terrain
dominating the Samichon Valley. . . ." 1T
Since 5 October when 1/7 had been moved into the line as the
regiment's third MLR battalion, the enemy had begun a regular
shelling of 1/7 positions adjacent to the Hook. Incoming rounds
had increased almost daily. "Troops, vehicles, and tanks moving
in daylight even behind the MLR almost invariably brought down
enemy artillery or mortars upon them. It was apparent that the
enemy was making preparation for a large scale assault in this
10 Heinl, memo.
17 IstMarDiv Intell. Est., dtd 19 Oct 52, p. 8, filed with the divisions PIRs for that
portion of the MLR," 18 the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel
Dulacki, later recalled. Matters took an even more ominous turn
about 23 October when the Chinese "began a deliberate, deadly
accurate precision fire aimed at destruction of the major fortifications
in the Hook's system of dug-in defense." 18 As the tempo of this
fire stepped up daily, the destruction of the battalion's carefully
prepared defenses exceeded the Marines' ability to repair the dam-
age. The artillery build-up was believed preparatory to an attempt
to either seize or breach the MLR.
In late October, Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki had two companies
on the MLR to protect this important area. On the 23d, Captain
Frederick C. McLaughlin's Company A was assigned the left part
of the battalion sector, which included the Hook. A squad outposted
Ronson and a reinforced platoon was stationed at Warsaw. At 0200
on the 26th, Company C (Captain Paul B. Byrum) departed the
battalion reserve area to take over responsibility as the left MLR
company. Relief of Company A was completed at 04l0. 20 Holding
down the right flank of the main line during this time was Company
B (Captain Dexter E. Evans) . This area was larger but somewhat
less rugged than the western part of the 1/7 sector.
In the two days immediately preceding the Chinese attack of 26
October, 1/7 received a limited amount of support intended to
harass the enemy and throw him off balance, if possible. Tanks fired
their 90s at bunkers, caves, trenches, and direct fire weapons in the
enemy sector. On the 25th, Company A of the 1st Tank Battalion
blasted away 54 times at these targets; on the next day, Captain
Clyde W. Hunter's gunners more than tripled their previous day's
output, firing 173 high explosive shells. Artillery, in the meantime,
stepped up its rate of fire on the 25th, when Lieutenant Colonel
Davis' 2/11 fired 575 rounds, followed by 506 more the next day.
The division general support battalion, 4/11, fired a total of 195
rounds on these two days. 21 Nearly half were to assist the 7th
18 Dulacki Itr.
19 Heinl, memo.
20 Due to the width of the Hook sector, it was necessary to keep all three rifle platoons
in the line. A reinforced platoon from the battalion reserve outposted Warsaw. While
Company A was on line, a Company C platoon manned the outpost; when Company C
was relieved on 26 October, a Company A platoon was sent to Warsaw. Maj Frederick
C. McLaughlin Itr to Dir, MCHist, HQMC, dtd 27 Jan 70, hereafter McLaughlin Itr.
21 On 24 October, Battery M of the battalion was temporarily relaid to provide addi-
tional support to Colonel Moore's regiment.
Operations in West Korea
Marines. On both days the regiment received the benefit of 4.5-inch
Air support just prior to the attack was increased slightly, but
only two strikes were flown for the Hook battalion. At 1535 on the
25th, two Corsair fighters and a pair of AUs, the attack version of
the Corsair, dive-bombed a section of Chinese trench that housed
a number of weapons bothersome to the Marines nearby. 22 The
four VMA-323 aircraft claimed destruction of 40 yards of trench
and damage to 35 yards more. The target was 1,000 yards southwest
of the Hook. Next morning the squadron sent three of its famed
fighters against bunker positions on a hill 900 yards west of the
1/7 salient. This mission had been prebriefed to attack enemy
artillery positions opposite the KMC line. Instead, the flight was
diverted to take on the bunkers, which represented, at that time,
more of a menace to the division. The attack destroyed one bunker,
damaged another, and produced an estimated seven casualties.
Hidden nearby the area of this air strike in the early morning
hours of 26 October was the Chinese infantry unit which later that
same day would attack the Hook. Before daybreak the 3d Battalion,
357th Regiment, had moved from an area nearly two miles west
of the Hook. The forward elements, two companies, with two day's
rations for each man, halted about a mile from their objective.
There the Chinese remained throughout most of the 26th, carefully
concealing themselves from observation by friendly forces. 23 While
the enemy troops were lying low, their mortars and artillery began
the final preparatory fires.
22 The flight had been scheduled to attack active artillery positions V/i miles north
of the Carson-Reno-Vegas area. When some of their ordnance was unexpended after
putting these guns out of action, the planes, were ordered to take on the trench target.
23 Within the division there were no reports of sightings of unusually large groups
of enemy soldiers in this area. In fact, there were fewer enemy seen on the 26th than
any other day since 18 October. During the 23d and 24th, about 100 enemy had been
observed almost a half mile closer to the Hook than the hideout area used on the 26th.
llthMar ComdD, Oct. 52, p. 12; IstMarDiv PIR 729, dtd 24 Oct 52, p. 2.
Attack on the Hook
On the morning of 26 October, Chinese artillery and mortar fire
striking the MLR slackened a bit but was still sufficiently heavy in
the vicinity of the Hook to prevent visitors in the area any direct
observation from the salient. During his inspection of Hook defenses
that morning, Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki was knocked to the ground
by the concussion of an enemy artillery round exploding nearby. 25
In the afternoon, enemy shelling continued at a steady pace, but
towards the end of the day intense mixed artillery and mortar fire
increased to preattack proportions. Dusk brought no relief from the
enemy's supporting weapons.
Out at the flanking positions, Ronson and Warsaw, there was
little change in the intensity of the enemy shelling for the remainder
of the afternoon. Bunkers and trenches were caved in, just as they
were on the Hook 20 from the preparatory fires that had been building
up over a period of days. (For a sketch of the Hook battle area on
26 October, see Map 16.) Enemy shelling had also produced a num-
ber of casualties. Marines at Ronson were the first to experience the
enemy's ground assault. At 1810 the outpost reported an increased
rate of mortar and artillery rounds exploding on the position. Two
groups of enemy soldiers were seen moving towards the outpost, one
from the east and the other from the west. Ronson Marines took
these advancing soldiers under fire immediately.
Initially, the radio messages from Ronson reported that the attack-
ing force was a company, but a later estimate of approximately 50
Chinese appeared to be more nearly correct. Communist infantry
2i Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, 26 Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 723, 734, dtd 27,
29 Oct 52; 7thMar, 11th Mar, 1/7, 4/11, 1st TkBn, VMF(N)-513 ComdDs, Oct 52;
25 The 1/7 commander, who was uninjured by the blast, might have become a believer
that day in the military cliche. "Rank hath its privileges," for Brigadier A. H. G.
Ricketts (29th British Infantry Brigade, 1st Commonwealth Division), who was stand-
ing near Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki, was untouched. The British division was sched-
uled to take over responsibility for the Hook sector in early November.
20 Prior to the enemy's steady shelling of the Hook, the trenches were six feet deep.
The preparatory fires of the past several days had been so intense that in nearly all
areas the trenchline had been leveled by the time of the Chinese attack. "I am con-
vinced that the Chinese didn't realize that they had penetrated our MLR or they would
have exploited the penetration." Col Russell E. Honsowetz It r to Dir, MCHist, HQMC,
dtd 26 Jan 70.
. . _ y
A Marine Combat Outpost
M Farmer COP
HOOK SECTOR OF MLR
1800,26 October 1952
100 200 300 400 500
made their way through the defensive artillery barrages requested
by the COP garrison and into the rifle and machine gun fire of the
Marines. By 1838 the enemy had overrun the squad of Marines and
was in possession of Ronson. No one had escaped from the outpost.
At this time, 800 yards northeast, the 9th Company, 357th
Battalion was working its way towards Warsaw. Striking at the
COP from both east and west, the enemy company was momentarily
halted by extremely heavy Marine mortar and artillery fire. By 1820,
the platoon at Warsaw had requested the protective box around its
position; this fire the 11th Marines delivered promptly. Still the
Chinese continued to besiege the position and Company A defending
Marines, under outpost commander Second Lieutenant John Babson,
Jr., were locked in a hand-to-hand struggle. As a platoon was being
readied to reinforce Warsaw the outpost reported, at 1907, that
enemy soldiers had reached the Marine bunkers and that the
defenders were using bayonets, pistols, hand grenades, and both
ends of their rifles to repel the Communist invaders.
Three minutes later came the word, "We're being overrun." With
this message all communication from the outpost temporarily ceased,
but at 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's CP heard Warsaw report
heavy fighting still in progress there. The outpost first stated that
enemy soldiers were on top of the bunkers; then called for "VT on
own position" which the 11th Marines furnished.
The seriousness of the situation was immediately apparent at
higher commands. One outpost had been lost; a second was in
jeopardy. At about this time, a veritable avalanche of enemy artillery
and mortar fire began to blanket the Hook. Colonel Moore released
Captain McLaughlin's company to 1/7. The 7th Marines commander
also ordered regimental ammunition supplies be allotted to Lieuten-
ant Colonel Dulacki's area. Shortly after that, division lifted
ammunition restrictions on 1/7.
To counter the impending ground attack, at 1859 Lieutenant Col-
onel Dulacki ordered Captain McLaughlin's Company A forward to
reinforce the Hook sector and to assist Company C in containing
the enemy attack. One platoon, the 1st, departed immediately for
the MLR. As the remainder of the company prepared to move out,
the enemy struck in estimated battalion strength. By 1938 some of
the CCF infantry had advanced to the main trenches immediately
south of the Hook. Within a few minutes, a second wave of Com-
Operations in West Korea
munist soldiers, following closely the preparatory barrages, hit
JAMESTOWN just east of the l/7 salient and frontally at the Hook
itself. It appeared that the Communists had come to stay, for many
cargo carriers — Chinese with construction materials for bunkers
and trenches — accompanied the attacking infantry.
Fire fights raged during the early phase of the struggle, with
continuous support furnished the assault troops by Chinese artillery
and mortars. The momentum of the enemy's three-pronged attack,
aided by heavy rear area fire support, enabled the Chinese to overrun
the trenches and push on along the crest of the ridge, its slope near
the spine, and across the segments formed by the spurs that jutted
south from the crest. Marine defenders pulled back while a small
rear guard covered their movement with fire. Along the MLR, about
400 yards south of the Hook, the Chinese had slipped around the
flanks of the COP and at 2030 forced a penetration in the C/l/7
line. Second Lieutenant John W. Meikle (1st Platoon, Company C)
organized the Marines into a perimeter defense adjacent to the
MLR. At 2130, remaining elements of the company formed another
defense blocking area 550 yards east of the Hook near the crest of
Between these two positions small groups of Marines continued
the heavy close fight to repulse the enemy while inching their way
forward to tie-in with the rest of the unit. (See Map 17 for pene-
tration limits during the Hook battle.) To the northeast, the platoon
at Warsaw had not been heard from since 1945, and at 2330,
Colonel Moore reluctantly declared the outpost to be in enemy hands.
At the time the loss of Warsaw was announced, counter-measures
designed to halt the enemy assault were in various stages of prep-
aration or completion. The initial reinforcing element sent forward
to strengthen the main line had linked up with Lieutenant Meikle's
1st Platoon, Company C, in the perimeter near the 3d Battalion
boundary. The remainder of Company A was en route to the crest
of the east-west ridge to thwart what appeared to be the main
enemy drive. Colonel Moore had released his meager reserve, H/3/7,
at 0300 on the 27th, and General Pollock had ordered one of the
division reserve battalions, 3/1, to the 7th Marines area, although
still retaining operational control of the unit.
As the forward battalion of the division reserve, 3/1 (Lieutenant
Colonel Altman) had prepared counterattack plans for critical loca-
A Morine Combot Outpost
A Former COP
— Morine Counterattack
— «^ Chinese Attack
. . • 2130 26 Oct.
o a o 0530 27 Oct.
1400 27 Oct.
26-27 October 1952
100 200 300 400 500
Operations in West Korea
tions in the division sector and had previously made a reconnais-
sance of the Hook area. The battalion immediately displaced from
its bivouac site north of the Imjin (Camp Rose) to an assembly area
behind the 7th Marines on the MLR.
All possible support for 1/7 was made available, since the critical
situation resulting from the major enemy assault automatically sus-
pended previous restrictions on use of artillery and mortar allow-
ances. At Warsaw, 2/11 blanketed the position with a continuous
barrage in order to limit the enemy's ability to effectively hold and
consolidate the captured COP. Lieutenant Colonel Davis' cannoneers
also blasted enemy formations in response to fire missions from
forward observers. Artillery rounds fell on Chinese outposts support-
ing the attack, on approach routes to the battleground, on assembly
areas, and on known and suspected Chinese artillery locations.
Marine aviation and tanks were employed as part of the plan to
first limit the penetration made by the enemy before the counter-
attack to expel him. A section of tanks had been firing since 1930
against the enemy main line; a second section joined the direct fire
assault a half hour later. At 2113, one F7F, with 1,300 pounds of
bombs, hit a portion of the enemy's MSR. At 2306, another twin-
engine Grumman Tigercat blasted the same area, about three-
quarters of a mile west of the Hook. These initial one-plane strikes
in support of the defense of the salient were flown by Captain Leon
C. Cheek, Jr. and Major Laurel M. Mickelson, respectively, of
At 0030 on the 27th, Major Mickelson, returning from his MPQ
attack, touched his Tigercat down at K-8 (Kunsan). At the very
moment that the plane set down on the Kunsan runway, the Chinese
launched another assault against the 7th Marines, the second in less
than six hours. This later action, in Lieutenant Colonel Caputo's
2/7 sector, nearly two miles west of the Hook, was not a surprise
move either. In fact, an attack against the Carson-Reno-Vegas area
had been anticipated for some time, and it was this state of pre-
27 The material in this section has been derived from 7thMar, "Summary of Action,
26 Oct-1 Nov 52, Hook, Reno, Ronson"; 2/7 ComdD, Oct 52.
paredness that throttled the enemy's attempt to seize an outpost here.
Division intelligence had accumulated considerable evidence that
the Chinese buildup in late October was intended to ultimately clear
the way to the 2/7 outposts rather than those of 1/7 in the eastern
Hook area. A majority of the Marine supporting arms effort immedi-
ately prior to 1800 on the 26th had gone to the left battalion of
Colonel Moore's regiment. Aware of the interest the enemy had
shown in the outposts earlier in the month, the battalion commander
had strengthened the defense of this key area. One measure, increas-
ing the size of the ambush force maintained at night near Reno from
a squad to a platoon, was to pay handsome dividends before October
Just after dark on the 26th, a reinforced platoon from Captain
James R. Flores' Company E departed the MLR on a combat patrol
and ambush mission. After reaching its assigned area, about 300
yards short of the hill that housed COP Reno, the ambush platoon
disappeared into camouflaged dug-in positions and waited. At mid-
night, the Marines were alerted by faint noises to the front. There,
elements of two Chinese companies, which had stealthily maneu-
vered into the ambush area, were organizing for a sneak assault by
an envelopment on Reno from the rear. (See Map 18.) The waiting
platoon apprised the outpost of the enemy's presence in the area;
then when it appeared that the Chinese were about to launch their
assault, the ambushers opened fire.
As the surprised Chinese turned to take on the hidden ambush
platoon, the two defending squads at Reno began firing. It took 10
minutes before the Chinese were sufficiently recovered to organize
a withdrawal. At 0040, enemy elements quickly began to pull back
towards the north. The outpost had been spared a major action, but
its occupants were to be again engaged by the Chinese before
At 0400, one platoon from a third CCF company, approaching
from an enemy hill to the northeast, hit Reno. The attack was con-
ducted in a fashion not previously experienced by the 1st Marine
Division in West Korea — platoons echeloned in depth, assaulting
in successive waves. The first unit to reach Reno was composed of
grenade throwers and supporting riflemen. This advance element
was followed immediately by the rest of the platoon, infantry armed
with submachine guns and rifles. Marines on Reno were not troubled
2 ENEMY COMPANIES
ATTACK AT 0030
I ENEMY COMPANY
ATTACK AT 0400
OUTPOST RENO ATTACKS
27 October 1952
p 10 200 300 400 50
by the initial platoon asault, but the second one made some inroads
before the defenders' fires forced the enemy to pull back. A third
two-phased attack succeeded, however, in cracking the defenses at
the northeast section of the position. The outpost commander then
ordered his Marines into the bunkers and called for overhead
artillery fire. Caught in the open, the Chinese were forced to with-
draw at 0440 and did not return.
After the Marines in Lieutenant Colonel Caputo's 2/7 sector had
dealt with the demonstration force, the action shifted back to the
Hook. Early on the morning of the 27th, Captain McLaughlin's
unit, sent to the Hook-Hill 146 crest to block the penetration of the
MLR, had established contact with Captain Byrum's Company C,
passed through its lines, and pressed on to the Hook. Suddenly,
enemy small arms and machine guns opened up on lead elements
of Company A. Artillery and mortar fire then began to hit the com-
pany. The Marines continued their advance and made some progress
in arresting the Chinese thrust at the ridge. Shortly thereafter the
enemy called in heavy supporting fires, forcing Company A to halt
its attack temporarily. When the company commander ordered his
men to resume the advance, overwhelming enemy fire again slowed
the movement. McLaughlin then ordered his men to hold and dig in.
When report of the Company A situation reached the regimental
CP, Colonel Moore ordered into action his last reserve unit, Captain
Bernard B. Belant's Company H.-' ! ' He was directed to report to 1/7,
then to pass through the depleted ranks of Company A, and take
up the attack downridge towards the salient. At 0340 the regiment
attached H/3/7 to 1/7 for operational control; at 0505 the company
arrived at the 1st Battalion CP. Forty minutes later, Company H
reached Captain McLaughlin's area, where it regrouped and then
deployed toward the ridgeline for the counterattack.
- s Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, dtd 27-28 Oct 52; 7thMar, llthMar, l/7, 4/11,
1st TkBn, VMAs-121, -212, -323 ComdDs, Oct. 52.
'"'At 0545 on the 25th, Company I (Captain John Thomas), then the regimental
reserve, and Captain Belant's Company H, responsible for the right sector of 3/7, had
Operations in West Korea
When Captain Belant led his Marines towards the Hook to oust
the Chinese, the enemy drive had reached the point of its deepest
penetration. By this time the Chinese had seized control of slightly
more than a mile of the meandering MLR. Most of the captured
main defense line extended from the Hook east along the ridge
towards Hill 146. (One-third of the Communist advance was from
the Hook southwest, in the direction of the 3d Battalion boundary.)
Between 0545 and 0800, H/3/7 worked its way towards the Hook-
Hill 146 crest. After two hours the company was at the ridgeline,
and at 0800 Captain Belant was ready to move forward towards the
salient, a straight-line distance of about a half-mile. On the hour,
the push downridge started. After having advanced about 200 yards,
the H/3/7 Marines were assailed by small arms fire and the rain
of heavy caliber rounds supporting the enemy's thrust. Captain
Belant signalled his Marines to attack.
Immediately, Second Lieutenant George H. O'Brien, Jr. leaped
up from his position and shouted for his platoon to follow. On the
run, he zigzagged across the exposed ridge and continued down the
front slope towards the main trench. Before reaching this objective,
the platoon commander was knocked to the ground by the impact of
a single bullet. Scrambling quickly to his feet he motioned for his
men to follow and took off on the run for the enemy-occupied
trenchline. Again he stopped, this time to assist an injured Marine.
As he neared the trenchline, Lieutenant O'Brien started to throw
a hand grenade into the enemy-occupied bunkers, but was stopped
by the Chinese. With his carbine, the officer methodically eliminated
this resistance, then hurled the grenades. Overcoming this position,
the Texas Marine and his platoon advanced towards the Hook, but
the enemy, now partly recovered, was able to slow and ultimately
stop the counterattack. A profusion of artillery and mortar fire was
primarily responsible for halting the advance, which had carried
Company H very close to the Hook bunkers.
Spurred on by the leadership of Lieutenant O'Brien, who later
received the Medal of Honor, 30 the company was able to execute
30 Another Medal of Honor resulting from the Hook action was awarded posthu-
mously to Second Lieutenant Sherrod E. Skinner, Jr. for "conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity." Lieutenant Skinner, whose twin brother was also a Marine officer, had been
assigned as an artillery forward observer with F/2/ll. When the Chinese attack hit
the MLR, Lieutenant Skinner organized the surviving Marines in defense of their ob-
servation post. Fighting off the enemy and calling down defensive artillery fire on the
a limited advance. Despite the heavy artillery and mortar fire, the
company drove a wedge into the Communist position, thereby
retaking the initiative from the enemy. Company H also took three
prisoners in the southeast end of the Hook before being forced by
a deadly enemy mortar and artillery barrage to withdraw upridge.
The attack by Company H had been well supported from the
air. At 0840, a flight of four ADs from Lieutenant Colonel Cargill's
VMA-121 assaulted the former Marine COP Seattle, where enemy
reinforcements were being funneled through on the way to the Hook.
Bombs and napalm took a heavy toll of the troops, bunkers, and
weapons pouring fire on the counterattacking Marines. One hour
later, a division (four planes) from VMA-323 struck another
trouble spot, a former Marine outpost known as Irene (later, Rome).
Aircraft of Lieutenant Colonel Chamberlain's squadron hit this
objective with three tons of bombs and more than 4,000 pounds of
burning napalm. Thirty minutes later, another foursome, these from
VMA-212, (Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. Dobson, Jr.), 31 delivered
bombs, napalm, and 20mm shells on enemy soldiers moving on the
MSR towards JAMESTOWN.
While these three squadrons were bombing enemy strongpoints
and other targets of opportunity, division artillery and tanks con-
tinued their destructive fire missions. Between 0930 and 1300, two
tanks from Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, blasted away at Chinese
bunkers and trenches, at an enemy 76mm gun on Seattle, and at
positions southwest of the Hook. Artillery — 2/11, 4/11, and the
rocket battery — contributed the weight of its support. The 11th
Marines, in an effort to stop the heavy hostile shelling of the Hook
sector, fired 60 counterbattery missions on Chinese gun emplacements
during the first 24 hours of the attack.
In the early afternoon of the 27th, 1st MAW attack squadrons
continued their bombing and strafing of enemy troops engaged in
assaulting Chinese, he delayed capture of the position. Twice he left the bunker to
direct fire on the enemy and get more ammunition.
When the Communists finally overran the bunker, Lieutenant Skinner instructed his
fellow Marines to pretend they were dead; during the next three hours several different
enemy groups frisked the inert Marines without discovering their ruse. Later, when a
skeptical enemy soldier hurled a grenade into the bunker, Lieutenant Skinner unhesi-
tatingly rolled on top of the missile, shielding the two surviving Marines. By thus
absorbing the full force of the explosion, he sacrificed his life for theirs. (2dLt Sherrod
E. Skinner, Jr. Biog. File)
31 The new squadron commander had relieved Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Fletcher
two days earlier. This flight was the first of two CAS attacks in behalf of the Hook
forces that the new commanding officer participated in that day.
Operations in West Korea
the assault against the Hook. Before sundown, 30 aircraft had taken
part in 8 additional strikes in support of Marine counterattacks along
the ridge. The number of aircraft involved in close air support sorties
for the Hook was approximately half the number received by the
division all day. Of the 72 aircraft flying CAS strikes during the first
24 hours of the Hook action, 67 were Marine planes, all from
As in the morning's close air support flights, Lieutenant Colonel
Cargill's ADs provided the bulk of air support for ground action
that afternoon. Striking first a command post southeast of the 1/7
salient, at 1410, VMA-121 came back a half-hour later with four
more Skyraiders against CCF troops pressing to envelop the right
flank of the counterattack force. At 1635, two squadron aircraft flew
in quickly in response to a sighting of troops moving forward in the
Samichon tributary 1,000 yards north of the Hook. Twenty minutes
after this successful attack, four more Skyraiders attacked bunkers
opposite the left flank of Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's sector. The
final daylight strike for 1/7 was again made by four ADs from
-121. These planes took under attack a target that had been
bombarded just 25 minutes earlier by Corsairs from VMA-323.
Another Marine attack squadron, VMA-212, participated in the
Hook support that afternoon. At 1344, a four-plane flight assaulted
troops moving through Frisco to reinforce the Chinese drive on the
Hook. Two of the planes dropped three 1,000-pound bombs and two
250-pounders on the enemy soldiers. The other pair of attack Corsairs
released six 780-pound napalm tanks over the position. It was esti-
mated that 25 Chinese casualties resulted from this air attack. Wrap-
ping up the VMA-212 CAS for the Hook sector on the 27th was
a strike, at 1440, on camouflaged positions and another at 1520
against caves and bunkers. Each of these air assaults took place about
950 yards from the Hook. The earlier one was a napalm attack from
50 feet above the ground. One of the six tanks would not release
and three did not ignite. Four caves were destroyed and one bunker
was damaged in the latter strikes.
Between the morning and afternoon air strikes, the ground com-
manders put together the final plans for recapture and defense of the
Hook. When General Pollock had released I/3/l to the regiment
during an inspection trip to the 1/7 area that morning, the company
was already en route to the ridge to make the counterattack. The
ground commanders agreed that after 1/3/1 regained the salient,
H/3/1 would take over the right sector of 1/7 and the relieved
company, B/l/7, would then occupy both the critical MLR sector
and Warsaw. Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's scheme to recapture the
positions and ground lost on 26 October was a continuation of the
attack from atop the ridge directly towards the objective. It was to
be a hard-nosed, frontal assault, but the only maneuver deemed
Clearing the Company C command post about noon, the lead
elements of Captain Murray V. Harlan, Jr.'s Company I, the 1st
Platoon, continued its route to the ridge. After the 40 Marines had
gained the crest, they quickly reoriented themselves to the new
direction, and at 1350, led the 1/3/1 assault. Artillery preparation by
the 11th Marines had preceded the crossing of the line of departure,
and these supporting fires were partially responsible for the sub-
stantial initial advance made by the counterattacking Marines. But
Chinese artillery was not idle at this time either, and the volume of
enemy fire matched that of the Marines. The 1/3/1 movement for-
ward was also slowed by Communist soldiers, estimated at about a
company, who fired from protected positions along the perimeter of
Inch by inch the company crawled forward. The vicious Chinese
supporting barrages were exacting many casualties among Captain
Harlan's troops, 32 yet they crept on, and ultimately reached the
artillery forward observer bunker atop the ridge but 150 yards short
of the Hook trenches. At this time, 1635, the enemy supporting fires
were directed not only on the advancing Marines and the MLR
defenses but extended as far back as the regimental CP. 33 Chinese
soldiers still clung to some of the Hook positions and trenches of the
MLR just below the crest on the northern sides. Marines closest to
the Hook could see the virtual ruination caused by enemy artillery
and mortar shells to the trench system within the salient.
Nearing their objective, elements of Company I pressed on with
even more determination. By 1700 a few had made it to the shell-
torn ditches, where they sought momentary refuge to reorganize.
Several more joined, and together they reconnoitered the trenches
"-'During this action, the company suffered 15 killed, 71 seriously wounded, and 6
slightly wounded. 3/1 ComdD, Oct. 52, p. 3.
IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, dtd 27 Oct 52.
Operations in West Korea
and bunkers for enemy soldiers. Just then the Communists reacted
with an even heavier supporting arms assault, which forced these few
Marines to pull back with their platoon to the reverse slope of the
ridge. To the right, about 250 yards away, the main body of Company
I Marines occupied the reverse side of the hill, riding out the
onslaught of artillery and mortar rounds while they waited for a
lull before making the final dash to recapture the lost area of
While Captain Harlan's company was exposed to this extremely
heavy enemy artillery fire, another unit, B/l/7, was on the move
from Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's command post to the ridge to
strike what was intended as a lethal blow to the Communist invaders.
At 1932, Company B began its march forward. By midnight, the 1st
Platoon was nearing its assault position close to the left flank of
Company I of 3/1. Simultaneously, the 3d Platoon closed in on its
jump-off point. The going was extremely difficult, complicated by a
moonless night and the many shell craters that pockmarked the
terrain. But at 0019, 28 October, the platoons mounted their assault,
firing their rifles and machine guns, and hurling grenades to silence
enemy automatic weapons and to reach dug-in Communist soldiers
occupying the trenchline.
The Marine charge was met by a burst of small arms fire and a
shower of grenades. Weapons supporting the Chinese defense were
still very active. After a standoff of 90 minutes the Marines pulled
back, calling on their mortars and artillery to lay precise fire concen-
trations on the trouble spots. The weapons also fired on enemy
approach routes through Ronson and Warsaw. After this preparation,
Company B again made an assault against the enemy, at 0340. This
advance was contested vigorously by the Chinese, but their resistance
this time was not lasting. Quickly B/l/7 Marines deployed through-
out the entire area, and by 0600 the Hook was again in Marine
Before the victors could permit themselves the luxury of a breath-
ing spell, there were a number of critical tasks that demanded
immediate attention. Defense of the MLR had to be quickly and
securely shored up for a possible enemy counterattack. The newly
rewon area had to be searched for Marines, both casualties and
holdouts, and for Chinese diehards or wounded. The company had
to be reorganized. In addition to these missions, there were two
others, regaining Ronson and Warsaw. As it turned out, the duties
were discharged nearly at the same time. COPs Ronson and Warsaw
were reoccupied by the 7th Marines at 0630 and 0845, respectively,
on 28 October.
In organizing the recaptured position, the Marines were hampered
to some extent by a dense ground fog. Nevertheless, work still went
ahead on these necessary tasks. Most of the Hook area was held
by Company B; the western part of the 1/7 line, south of the Hook,
was still manned by the platoon from Company A and one from
Company C. The 1st Platoon of Company B quickly searched the
retaken area of the MLR (except the caved in parts of the trenchline
and bunkers, which were investigated later) , but found no enemy
soldiers. During the day, as Company B expanded its responsibility
along the Marine main line, the platoons from A/1/7 and C/l/7
were relieved to rejoin their companies. 34 Supplies began to move
in, once the permanency of the defense had been established.
Overview 3 "
In evaluating the battle for the Hook, it would appear that the
Chinese assault against Reno was merely a demonstration or feint.
By making a sizable effort near the primary objective after the attack
there was well under way, the Communists expected not to obscure
the real target but rather to cause the Marines to hesitate in moving
higher echelon reserves to influence the action at the Hook. It was
to the credit of the ambush force that the Chinese ruse was
Including losses from the Reno ambush, Marines estimated that
the Chinese actions against that outpost cost the enemy 38 killed
and 51 wounded. The COP defenders and the platoon that had
surprised the enemy counted 22 dead Communist soldiers during
and after the Reno action. Together with the Hook casualties,
34 As a part of the reorganization, H/3/l remained in the right sector, and Company
C, of the Hook battalion, filled in the middle. Company A was in position on the
friendly side of that part of the ridge held by Captain Byrum's Company C. During the
afternoon of the 28th, 1/3/1 and H/3/7 also left Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's area to
rejoin their parent organizations.
35 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv
ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 734-735, 741, dtd 29-30 Oct 52, 5 Nov. 52.